Ziggy Harris – Then and Now

What is your earliest memory of learning music?
Have you seen The Lion King? Picture Rafiki holding Simba up to the sun in the first scene. Now replace Rafiki with Deidre Rickards, and Simba with myself. Deidre was the music director at my school at the time, and singled me out of the choir after a performance at Assembly one day. She brought me out the front and casually declared, “This little boy has a nice voice, and he will learn the violin.” My parents were in the audience, and thought it was some sort of prophecy if Deidre Rickards was declaring it! Thus, I began learning violin with Marion Barford when I was 4 years old, but after a few lessons I had to stop as my hand couldn’t physically fit around the violin bow and she didn’t want me learning bad habits so I ended up taking two years off before returning to it when I was about 6 or 7 years old!
What programs were you involved in, in your time here?
I was involved in the Armidale Youth Orchestras program for as long as I could remember, starting up the back desk of the THIRD Violins (I know, third!) in the Armidale Youth String Orchestra and working my way up to the First Violins in the Armidale Youth Orchestra. I was also involved with the Sierra Quartet, which comprised myself, Shah Biffin, Randall Bollenhagen, Thomas Wright as our first violist and then Jess Tan. New England Singers and New England Chamber Choir would also keep me on my toes over the years, with heavy involvement in New England Sings, both in the orchestra pit and in the choir itself. I think I was involved in more “programs” but I cannot place them right now, NECOM has so much going on it’s hard to keep up!
What advice would you give to students who are at NECOM now?
GET INVOLVED! Put your hand up! Take on opportunities as SOON as they come your way! Not only will you start BEING a responsible and well-rounded musician, but you’ll also make friends for life. Get around the con!
Can you tell us about any favourite memories you have from NECOM?
Sitting up in the back desk of the orchestra where I assumed Warwick Dunham couldn’t see me and having a big yarn with whoever my desk partner was as the time. I got moved around a lot because I couldn’t keep too focused which I still laugh about today.
But that was just a byproduct of the REAL favourite memory of NECOM I had, and that has to be the friends I made. There was a group of us who grew through NECOM together, and would compete against each other in Eisteddfods, go on orchestra and choir excursions together, and support each other. We motivated one another, even if it wasn’t explicit.
What are you doing now?
I am majoring in Classical Voice at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and living at Wesley College.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Europe, hopefully! Whether it’s Germany or Spain or Finland, I don’t mind!

Ziggy is featured in this video from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's about the lifechanging scholarship he was awarded: