Where are they now – Andrew Groch (SPC 2008-13)

July 26, 2021

The College recently reconnected with Andrew Groch (SPC 2008-13), who will be recognised as our Young Achiever of the Year later this year in honour of his incredible work as one of Australia’s best young musical conductors and arts administrators. Despite being just 25 years old, Andrew has already conducted the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and has worked with the world-renowned London Philharmonia Orchestra before COVID forced a return to Australia. Andrew is currently working as a project officer with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.


Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

Since leaving SPC, life has taken me to Melbourne, Adelaide, and briefly London. After I graduated, I moved to Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Music in Flute as well as pursuing conducting. After graduating in 2017, I promptly moved to Adelaide to study a Masters of Conducting. For a lot of people in Adelaide that was moving in the wrong direction, but the course there is partnered with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, so this was a pretty special and formative time, culminating in my first professional engagements conducting the ASO. I was also lucky enough to land a job at the ASO in arts administration, which laid the groundwork for a move to London at the beginning of 2020 and securing a job as Concerts Coordinator with the prestigious Philharmonia Orchestra. As you can imagine, COVID threw this all into the air, and in October I decided to return to Melbourne, and fortunately fell into a job with the Melbourne Symphony’s digital team.


Andrew Groch received the Sir Bernard Heinze Award for Overall Outstanding Musical Achievement in 2013.

Do you have family ties with SPC?

Both my brother and I attended SPC, and before that two of our uncles did as well.


What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?

Unsurprisingly, my fondest memories were of time spent in the music department. In particular towards the end of my time at SPC we were going on annual tours to Queensland to compete, which was always a blast. I think in my last year the Concert Band won gold too, which was a nice way to round things out.

Andrew Groch was Music Vice-Captain in 2013.

Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?

Kathleen Plastow was without a doubt one of the biggest impacts on my life; not just from within SPC. She was responsible for me starting to conduct, connecting me to my now mentor and friend Graham Abbott who taught me the foundation of my conducting. She was endlessly encouraging and supportive, and I don’t think I would’ve decided to pursue music without that.

Andrew Groch, pictured in a concert band photograph, with teacher and mentor Kathleen Plastow, in 2009.

How has your education shaped your professional life?

My education has shaped my professional life in a roundabout way from SPC, as most of my formal study was geared towards going into medicine. Despite diverging from that, I think my success in my study gave me a solid foundation for everything I’ve done since; the solid ground for me to confidently take the big steps that I have since.


If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?

Once you’ve found your ambition, hold onto it but keep an open mind. The world is constantly changing, so allow yourself to change with it.

Andrew Groch, pictured in his Year 12 photograph, in 2013.