Eliza Scott couldn’t wait to get out of Armidale when she left school, but after living in London, playing the violin for King Charles III and teaching Princess Charlotte, she says she is glad to be home.
The PLC Armidale alumna expressed her passion for community and gave some ‘life advice’ to the all-girl educator’s graduating class of 2022 at their valedictory assembly.
Ms Scott confessed to not remembering any advice from her own valedictory assembly nearly a decade ago, nor who the guest speaker was.
“So I will rest easy knowing that no matter what I say to you, there is little chance of you remembering it,” she said.
“But I do want to leave you with a saying that has gotten me through the very best and worst times of my life.
“This too shall pass – it applies not only to the seasons of life we wish were over but also to the seasons of life we wish would never end.”
Born and raised in Armidale, Ms Scott went on after graduation from PLC Armidale to complete her undergraduate studies, travel the world and receive many significant prizes.
“Nine years ago, the bagpipes led my 31 classmates and me out of the PLC Astra Art Centre forever,’ Ms Scott said.
“And at that time, I had one aspiration in life. Get out of Armidale, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Ms Scott moved to Brisbane to study a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium to become an orchestral violinist.
“My first years were tough,” she said.
“Despite thinking that Armidale was the place I wished to escape, I was surprised to feel desperately homesick.”
In 2017 she graduated with First Class Honours and the University Medal. And performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Cross Soloists and was the principal second violin of the Australian Youth Orchestra in both 2018 and 2019.
“During my undergraduate degree, I toured both Australia and the world playing with different orchestras,” Ms Scott said. “A great honour, I now realise, given that we’ve been grounded for the past two years.”
In 2020 Ms Scott was awarded her Masters of Performance from the Royal College of Music in London, where the Australian Government supported her studies through the Australia Council for the Arts.
Highlights of her time while there include recording at the Abbey Road Studios, performing for the Prince of Wales (now King Charles III) at Windsor Castle, teaching Princess Charlotte at her Nursery, performing at Australia House and appearing in orchestras conducted by Simone Young, Sir Antonio Pappano, John Wilson and Rafael Payare.
“The opportunities I was lucky enough to be given while studying at the world’s highest-ranking music school still blow me away,” Ms Scott said.
“While I taught Princess Charlotte at her nursery, her mum (now the Princess of Wales), Kate Middleton, watched.
“Afterwards, she told me that perhaps Prince George should learn the French horn. So clearly, I didn’t do a good job selling the violin.
“I also performed at Windsor Castle for the then Prince of Wales, and he chuckled to me as he recalled his old trumpet teacher who urged him to quit.”
Living back in Armidale, Ms Scott says, was not her dream.
“This was, in fact, my worst nightmare,” she said.
“And yet, every day, I find myself doing a far more important job than performing for royalty – being a part of a community.”
Ms Scott now leads the string program at PLC Armidale from Kindergarten through to Year 12 and is a teacher at the New England Conservatorium of Music (NECOM).
“I realised that without the incredible teachers that I had at PLC Armidale, I would never have dreamt as big as I dreamt or succeeded as much as I was able to,” she said.
“The fulfilment I feel now teaching, and hopefully passing along some of that enthusiasm to my students, brings me so much joy.”
Her advice to the PLC Armidale 2022 graduating cohort was ‘to find something to do that fulfils you and inspires you to get out of bed each morning’.
And to appreciate the college community they are now a part of.
“I know you know how lucky you are to have had a PLC Armidale education,” she told them.
“Your teachers and the phenomenal resources and facilities are second to none. But perhaps you haven’t yet realised how your education at PLC has given you a family you are now lucky enough to be part of for the rest of your life.”
Having grown up in a highly musical family, some of Ms Scott’s earliest memories are accompanied by music.
“As a child, the best fun would be when Dad and I would jam together, him on the piano or guitar and me on the violin. We still love playing together,” she says on her NECOM profile.
“My Aunty taught me the violin, and all of my cousins played instruments, so there was never a quiet moment – especially at Christmas.”