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Byron Shire
June 25, 2024

Piano and poetry at The Con

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Piano and poetry

Northern Rivers Conservatorium is pleased to be presenting its final concert in collaboration with Musica Viva Australia for 2023, Sonya & Christine: Above/Below. Conceived as a reflection on the cyclical nature of life, Above/Below pairs the poetic, lyrical vignettes of Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, Op. 37a (based on the 12 calendar months of the year) with the abstract mysticism of George Crumb’s Makrokosmos, Book 1 (based on the 12 houses of the zodiac), weaving a beguiling journey through the calendar year. 

Ukrainian-Australian pianist Sonya Lifschitz is at the forefront of cross-disciplinary collaboration in Australia. Innovative and fiercely creative, Sonya re-contextualises the classical canon and pushes the boundaries of conventional concert practice. 

A pianist working across many contexts, with repertoire spanning from 15th century Faenza Codex to works written for her today, she is known for her fiercely imaginative, daring collaborations across theatre, dance, screen-based and visual arts, spoken word, and performance art. 

Described as ‘a life force of extraordinary density and capacity’, Sonya’s artistry combines bold adventurousness with ‘miraculous keyboard technique and musicianship’ (Woodstock Times) to create work that positions classical and contemporary art music at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary performance practices. She is active as a soloist, creative collaborator, artistic director, educator, radio personality and arts advocate. 

Joining Sonya is renowned Australian performance artist Christine Johnston (known affectionately as ‘Madame Lark’), whose uncanny ability to mimic Australian bird calls — along with her gift for narration — has seen her appear at festivals and concerts around the globe. In this concert, she’ll play the musical saw, imitate the song of the lark, play lap steel guitar, and recite poetry as Sonya juxtaposes two widely divergent musical voices, allowing them to speak to each other in surprising and illuminating ways. Known for her particular bent on humour, and dramatic visual style, she is perhaps best known as co-creator of the multi-award winning, internationally renowned comedic trio The Kransky Sisters. Her recent international commission from Imaginate and Windmill TC Baba Yaga (with Scottish artist Shona Reppe and director Rosemary Myers) toured the UK, Ireland, China, Norway and Australia and won the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, the Ruby Award, and Helpmann Awards nomination. 

Tickets range from $16.50 to $38.50. The Conservatorium is pleased to be able to offer free tickets to flood-affected members of our community. 

Tickets: sonyachristine.eventbrite.com.au. Enquiries: [email protected] Subscribe: subscribe.nrcac.edu.au.

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