Message from the Artistic Director

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What is a piano duo?

Sonya Lifschitz

Praised by the New York Times and The Age for her “dynamic” and “powerful” performances, Ukrainian-born pianist Sonya Lifschitz is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative, creative, and fearless musical voices.

During the 2015-16 season, Sonya made her critically acclaimed solo debut in one of New York’s most prestigious series, the BargeMusic, with other season highlights including performances at the Banff Centre (Canada), the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Local Heroes and Spotlight series, the Melbourne, Darwin, Port Fairy, and Metropolis Festivals, 3MBS Marathons, and a collaboration between visual artist Angela Cavalieri, iconic Melbourne arts venue fortyfivedownstairs, and Sonya’s contemporary ensemble Press, Play, of which she is the co-founder and artistic co-director.

Sonya is increasingly active as a music curator and director, pushing to expand the existing parameters of performance culture and concert experience in Australia. In 2015 she curated, directed, and performed in a critically-acclaimed multi-disciplinary project (Canzone) for the Melbourne Festival, working at the intersection of visual art, music, and animated projections. This year, as a Fellow at the Australian National Academy of Music, Sonya will curate and perform in two large-scale projects reflecting her commitment to innovative and creative programming and community engagement. A fierce advocate for new music, Sonya has commissioned and premiered numerous large-scale works by composers such as Larry Sitsky, Kate Neal, Robert Davidson, Damian Barbeler, Steve Adams, and Anthony Lyons. A passionate collaborator, she performs regularly with her piano duo partners Stephen Emmerson and Therese Milanovic, the Topology ensemble and the Kransky Sisters, and members of the Melbourne Symphony, Queensland Symphony, and Australian Chamber Orchestras.

Sonya debuted with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at age 18, performing Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, broadcast on ABC Classic FM and SBS television. She has been a soloist with the Melbourne Symphony, Israel Symphony, John Hopkins Symphony, Western Australia Youth Symphony, Melbourne Symphonia, and Marroondah Symphony orchestras; has performed extensively in Australia, United States, Israel, Switzerland, Italy and England; and has been featured on ABC Classic FM, ABC Radio National, and 3MBS Fine Music stations.
A Fulbright Scholar, Sonya studied under the legendary pianist-conductor Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory of Music (John Hopkins University, USA) and holds a PhD in performance from the University of Melbourne.

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