Pianist brings unique flair to ANU School of Music

4 October 2017

The ANU School of Music's newest appointment says it is important to her that she seeks out ways to create, design and curate music that reflects a changing, contemporary cultural scene.

Ukrainian-born pianist Sonya Lifschitz will join the School of Music as a Lecturer in Performance and pianist in the Ensemble-in-Residence with Cellist David Pereira and violinist Tor Frømyhr.

She'll get a chance to officially show off her talents at her first concert on Thursday 19 October at 7pm.

Lifschitz says her inspiration and love of music can be traced back to her teenage years, when her parents took her to see pianist/conductor Leon Fleisher, performing Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

"That performance struck me as a thunderbolt and absolutely blew my mind," she said.

"I had never seen the piano played like that before nor heard any music that was so powerful, dazzling, infused with colour and emotional intensity. I was around 15 or 16 years old then. Little did I know that two years later I'll be performing with that same orchestra, and 10 years later would be one of the very few students from all around the world studying with Leon Fleisher in America.

"In fact I worked with Fleisher on that same Ravel piano concerto that I heard him perform as a 15 year old kid! It never stops to fascinate me, those serendipitous, mysterious ways in which life ebbs and flows and takes us on this unfolding journey."

Lifschitz says this next stage of her journey, which brings her to ANU, will help her to build on the School's direction in combining the best of conservatorium tradition with composition and technology.

"As a teaching artist, I try to model for my students the value of collaboration, experimentation, deep curiosity and uncompromising excellence," she said.

"I want to empower these young musicians to shape their own artistic identities, create their own professional opportunities, and continuously re-evaluate the processes and practices of their field so as to thrive and succeed in an ever-changing professional and social environment.

"It is a huge privilege to be a part of the School of Music community under Professor Kenneth Lampl's stewardship and to play a role in the School's evolution and growth as it trail-blazes new music education models into the 21st century."

Sonya's first concert at the School of Music will be based on her multimedia work Stalin's Piano for piano and video by Brisbane composer Robert Davidson. In this innovative piece archival footage of iconic creative and political figures is integrated with virtuoso piano music and the spoken word.

Sonya will present this piece in her first concert at the School of Music on Thursday 19 October, 7pm.