The first piece of classical music I remember is Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. I have a vivid memory of sitting in the audience and watching a performance as a tiny kid. It was a very formative moment. 

I was always singing as a child, and I entered the choir at high school. We performed Carmina Burana and Mozart’s Requiem, which I was obsessed with. I loved the Dies Irae and couldn’t stop listening to it. 

Shaun Rennie

Shaun Rennie. Photo supplied.

Later, I joined the schools’ choir run by George Torbay. There were about 80 of us from around the state. We met once a week and often performed at the Sydney Opera House. When I was in Year 12, we even sang at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. One day, George gave us an arrangement of Our Time from Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. It was so beautiful; I can still remember it. 

My first CD was Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s The Premiere Collection, which is how I became acquainted with his Requiem and The Phantom of the Opera. My parents took me to see the show...