OHA Australia Wide – Scott Wilson (OH 2002)
OHA Australia Wide – Celebrating OHA Members outside Melbourne (Scott Wilson)
Years at Haileybury: 1994 to 2002
Current location: London and Boston
In this edition of OHA Australia Wide, we go slightly beyond our remit and introduce a member who isn’t in Australia. It’s Scott Wilson (2002): a musician, conductor and educator who lives in London. Scott is passionate about classical music, particularly spreading it to a larger audience. This has led him to a life abroad, years of study and performing and now a podcast.
Scott attended the Berwick and Keysborough campuses from 1994 to 2002. He witnessed the historic retirement of long-time principal and visionary, Michael Aikman, in 1998 and the arrival of his successor, Dr Robert Pargetter. Scott remembers this as a significant development in the evolution of the School. Scott remembers many of his teachers fondly but gives particular mention to Berwick headmaster, John Twist; music teachers, Barry Fletcher, Steve Falk and Mike Barker; and English teacher, Janet Strachan. “Mr Twist’s ability to set the tone of the school was inspiring”, says Scott. “He would greet every student each morning with a handshake and make himself available to parents who might need to chat. An environment was created where every child was welcomed and made to feel like they were an important member of the school community”. As for Mr Fletcher, Scott remembers him as “an unwavering bastion of support to countless students, and a brilliant teacher”.
Looking back on his time at Haileybury, Scott says, “I recognise that I received opportunities in the performing arts that I wouldn’t have experienced at almost any other school. The musical and drama productions were astonishing. What opportunities!”
After graduating from Haileybury, Scott moved straight to London to become an undergraduate at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studied percussion, conducting and piano. He then attended Royal Holloway at the University of London to complete a Masters in Musicology. Next, Scott returned to the Guildhall first as an artist in residence and later as a conducting fellow. In 2019 and 2020, Scott relocated to Boston where he was appointed the Zander Fellow with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Now, Scott is back in London, performing (when permitted by COVID!), teaching conducting, and lecturing on the Youth Orchestras of the Americas’ OAcademy. Previously he attended masterclasses throughout Europe and was a participant in the Global Leaders Program, which provides executive training in partnership with nine top universities and think tanks. Despite this impressive array of scholastic achievements, Scott says his educational journey is not finished. “As ever with music”, says Scott, “my studies are ongoing. The mountain of knowledge to climb is large!”
Scott has recently turned his attention to a new project: a podcast called A Thousand Pictures. “I’m passionate about audience development for classical music”, says Scott. “I previously wrote a book on this subject, but with the hiatus of COVID, I had time to develop these ideas further. This has resulted in my new podcast, which is aimed at opening the doors to classical music to new listeners. There are many people who might like to develop an interest in classical music, but they feel that the door is closed to them. A Thousand Pictures podcast aims to open this door in an inspiring way. No prior knowledge is needed!”
A Thousand Pictures is series of 15-20 minute episodes where Scott takes a famous piece of classical music, explains it in a way that assumes no prior knowledge and gives his personal insights drawn from years of study and experience as a conductor. Over time, the series takes listeners on a journey through classical music’s composers, musicians and history. If you have an interest in music or simply an interest in history or great art, this podcast is definitely for you.
Despite Scott’s many achievements, he regards A Thousand Pictures as one that he’s most proud of.
“Generating new audiences is the greatest responsibility of classical musicians right now”, says Scott. “This podcast is my most successful attempt so far. In the future I hope my podcast, as well as my other work developing new audiences for classical music has an impact for this art form”.
Have you ever met anyone famous? Actor, David Tennant. I was lucky to play percussion for a Shakespeare production where he was Richard II.
Do you have a favourite pop musician? I admire countless pop musicians: Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd from my childhood; Nirvana and Metallica who sustained me through Haileybury; Beyoncé and George Michael helped me through my studies (and I admire him probably over all others); and Jessie Ware and Lianne La Havas’ latest albums are awesome.
If you could meet anyone (dead or alive), who would it be? Christopher Hitchens—what an incredible speaker and brilliant mind.
Is there a book you would recommend?My favourite novel is Giuseppe Tomassi di Lampedusa’s “The Leopard” (introduced to me by Janet Strachan, my brilliant Literature teacher at Haileybury).
Is there a podcast you would recommend?A Thousand Pictures of course!