Tom Pugh began his musical life as a flautist in his early teenage years, moving on to study with Zdenek Bruderhans at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide. While completing his degree, he took up conducting as a second study with renowned German conductor Heribert Esser and made his conducting debut with the Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Leonore Overture III. He also led performances of Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Brahms’ Symphony 2.
Wanting to pursue this area further, Tom Pugh moved to Melbourne in 1995 to commence a Master of Music Performance in conducting at the Victorian College of the Arts, studying with Robert Rosen, Barry Bignell and Graeme Abbott. In this time he worked as an Assistant Conductor in the VCA Opera Studio, most notably on productions of Prokofiev’s Love of Three Oranges and Ravel’s L’Enfants et les Sortilèges. In addition, he conducted the VCA Symphony Orchestra on several occasions and led concert performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
After graduating, Tom Pugh was Director of Music and Chapel Choir at Queen’s College and completed a Graduate Diploma in Education at the University of Melbourne, going on to be appointed as Teacher of Flute and conductor at Brighton Grammar School in 2000, a position he held for 16 years. He was also Head of Middle School Music, Director of the Senior Choral program and conductor of the Senior Symphony Orchestra in the latter years of this tenure.
In this time, Tom Pugh conducted many performances with choirs including the Melbourne Singers, and the Monash Chorale as well as leading concerts with the Monash University Symphony Orchestra, the Zelman Symphony Orchestra and the South Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the Davis (Senior) Symphony Orchestra on Border Music Camp from 2002 to 2004 and in 2013 was conductor of Sing Australia Hawthorn, which included a performance with James Morrison and a 1000 voice choir in Canberra.
Passionate about working with youth orchestras and regarded as an outstanding music pedagogue, Tom Pugh is currently the Head of Music at Flinders Christian Community College, Melbourne’s fifth largest independent school. He continues to perform as a flautist and conductor and has future plans to conduct with Melbourne Youth Music as well as local choirs and orchestras.