IGS plays heartstrings for Alumna Bronte Ellis (2010)

IGS Alumna and cellist Bronte Ellis (2010) shares her love of music, languages and the School.

Bronte, who grew up in Balmain, attended IGS from Preschool to Year 12, before pursuing a career in music. 

Since graduating IGS, Bronte has performed in various venues around Sydney including The Factory Theatre, The Enmore Theatre, and ANZ Stadium.

“I mainly play the cello for a traditional Greek band, The D Strings,” said Bronte.

“We had the fortune of being invited to play at the Melbourne Rebetiko Festival in Victoria a couple of years back which was pretty special. I also sing and occasionally play the ukulele for recordings, weddings, and small gigs at bars and local coffee shops,” she said.

“My mother and father met at the Conservatorium of Music where they both went on to be music teachers and musicians.

“My brother and I have always been surrounded by diverse music genres and eclectic instruments from around the world.

“Whatever instrument we wanted to have a go at growing up, Mum and Dad were always very supportive. Seeing them both so happy and free with following their passion has inspired me to do the same.

“I am very aware that I was extremely fortunate to learn four languages at IGS – French from Preschool, Spanish from Year 7, Mandarin for the HSC, and Greek Club on Friday afternoons in Primary School.”

After finishing Year 12, Bronte spent a lot of time travelling through North and Central America. She said the fact that she could speak Spanish helped tremendously.

“While I was living in both California and Costa Rica, I had many opportunities to share my music. The cello was a bit tricky to travel with naturally, but I made many wonderful connections singing with my ukulele and that inspired me to continue performing when I returned back home.

“I said yes to every single gig and recording, purely for the love of it and now I’m very grateful to call it my career,” Bronte said.

“As well as performing and recording, I also teach cello and help out with music ensembles across multiple schools in Sydney.”

Bronte said IGS was “pretty special, particularly in the 90s and early 2000s” adding that the School had “a very cool, wide variety of parents”, including musicians, actors and artists.

“The students who were there were also very creative and open-minded. It’s still really wonderful when I see my friends who also were there from Preschool to Year 12, and when I run into familiar faces from my time there.

“Stand out memories definitely include the school production of The Little Shop of Horrors in around 2001, singing ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ by Guns N’ Roses for my first Arts Festival in 2005 as a baby seventh grader with James Fletcher who was in Year 12 at the time, and lastly, Mr Galea and Mr Collins shaving their heads one assembly,” she said.

“My Year 3 teacher, Miss Pelicane, will always be my favourite teacher during my time at IGS. I’ve never been book smart or particularly good in sit down exams but she invited me to be a part of the Gifted and Talented program because she honoured that musical ability is certainly a form of intelligence.

“Profesora Alonso was always so incredibly patient with us, especially during the HSC. There were only eight of us doing Spanish but, safe to say there was never a dull moment.

“Every single music teacher in the aforementioned era, including my beautiful mum, Mrs Ellis, were so amazing to my brother and me.”

She said IGS felt like family, and in particular Mrs Travis, Mr Chang, Ms Freeman, Mr Madsen and Ms Vincent became honorary aunties and uncles.

“That was always a really special aspect of IGS for me, the close-knit community and everyone looking out for each other.”

“Music is so wildly subjective that what you create may not always be everyone’s cup of tea. So it’s super important that you make music that you are proud of and you love listening to yourself.

“I went on to study music at university after graduating from high school and was told several times there that my voice wasn’t strong enough, or didn’t have enough range, which led me to want to step away from it for a long time,” she said.

“Travelling and singing with people from around the world who adored my voice for what it was helped me fall in love with performing and wanting to share my music all over again, and I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities because of that.” 

In September, Bronte performed live on the the Greek Herald‘s Facebook page. She played the ukulele and sang in multiple languages including Greek, Spanish and French.

The Greek Herald said Bronte has a unique ability to connect with people from different multicultural communities. Read the article here.