‘Meet the Maestros’ is a series of articles that celebrates the diverse professional talent and musical expertise of Sydney Catholic Schools’ Amadeus Music Education Program tutors. 

Here Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra artistic director Paul Terracini shares what life as a musician, composer, and conductor brings to the Amadeus classroom.

Paul Terracini became a professional musician at age 17 with the Opera Australia Orchestra.

As a tutor in the Amadeus Music Education Program he teaches trumpet, baritone and trombone to students at St John’s Catholic Primary School Auburn and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School Georges Hall.

“I grew up playing the trumpet,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s a favourite, but it’s the instrument I have the greatest affinity with.

“The rest of my life I conduct orchestras and things, so I love working with strings and all of the other instruments.”

Career high notes

Mr Terracini’s long and varied career includes work at the Queensland Conservatorium and as a member of the Danish Chamber Players. 

He is currently a tutor with the Sydney Conservatorium’s ‘Rising Stars’ talent development program, Conductor of the Conservatorium High School Symphony Orchestra, artistic director of the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, and artistic director of Penrith Symphony Orchestra and Penrith Youth Orchestra.

Mr Terracini has also written music for film and television that is still played around the world, including by the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and Boston Symphony orchestras, and the BBC.

“You see the joy on the faces of children when they get to the point where they realise ‘I can actually do this’.” – Paul Terracini

Amadeus students at Patrician Brothers’ College Fairfield, St Luke’s Catholic Primary School Revesby, and Marist Catholic College North Sydney have also benefited from Mr Terracini’s conducting skills – including a good ear, preparation, and the skill to identify and fix when an ensemble is out of tune.

“The great thing about kids playing instruments is that you can suddenly get a surprise,” he said.

“It may be six months and you think you’re not making any progress and suddenly something clicks, and they start making progress quite rapidly.

“You see the joy on the faces of children when they get to the point where they realise ‘I can actually do this, I can play tunes on this instrument’. It’s amazing how happy they become.”

Power in creative expression 

To Mr Terracini, the arts are what make us human and give a means of expression beyond the strictly verbal or visual.

“We’re the species that writes music, creates visual arts, all this kind of stuff,” he said.

 “It gives us a means of saying the most profound things about life as we experience it.”

The Amadeus program is giving the power of musical expression to thousands of students across Sydney.

“If you start kids in music at a very young age, it becomes part of their life and their natural skill set rather than something that they might be battling to learn when they are older. It’s a huge advantage.”