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29 February 2024 / Category : School

String Sensation Shoots for the Stars

When Juliet started at Rangi Ruru in 2017 as a Year 7 student, she never imagined that she would leave at the end of 2023 as Dux, winner of four NZQA Scholarships, including an Outstanding Scholarship in Music, and securing a spot through a successful audition at the prestigious Royal College of Music (RCM). Throughout her time at Rangi Ruru, music gradually became a significant part of Juliet’s life, alongside managing a rigorous academic schedule and briefly exploring the sport of cycling.


A dedicated violist under the tutelage of Stephen Larsen from the University of Auckland and Chiron Music School, Juliet seized every musical opportunity that came her way. She garnered accolades as a member of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, served as a section leader in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Symphony Orchestra, performed professionally with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (as well as being a CSO intern), and achieved recognition as a three-time National Finalist in the NZCT Chamber Music Contest. Juliet also actively participated in various Rangi Ruru music ensembles, showcasing her versatility by playing the tenor saxophone in the Jazz Band and Saxophone Ensemble.

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By 2023, it became evident to Juliet that pursuing viola studies at the tertiary level was her calling, with several avenues to explore. One such option was auditioning for the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London, where she could study under Bryony Gibson-Cornish, an esteemed alumna of Rangi Ruru and Professor of Viola at RCM, as well as a member of the renowned Marmen Quartet.

Reflecting on her audition process, Juliet admitted feeling daunted by the idea of auditioning overseas initially. However, encouraged by her teacher, she decided to take the leap and submit an audition. To her surprise, the process turned out to be straightforward, aligning seamlessly with her preparation for the Scholarship Music recital. Following a video submission of her 15-minute program, Juliet underwent an online interview with the Strings Department at RCM and received an offer shortly after.

Having approached the audition, viewing overseas institutions as completely out of reach, getting accepted into the Royal College of Music was both very exciting and rather unexpected.

Although she decided not to accept the undergraduate placement, the experience instilled in her a newfound confidence in pursuing opportunities beyond her initial expectations.

In congratulating Juliet on her remarkable achievements, the Rangi Ruru community celebrates her journey and eagerly anticipates the bright future ahead as she continues to pursue her passion for music.