20161201_204522Sonya and Lisa, Peristyle, Toledo Museum


Detroit Institute of the Arts – Diego Rivera Court

Sonya Lifschitz

Sonya Lifschitz

Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore


J.S. Bach

Sonya and Lisa

Infinite Variations – Goldberg (Re)Imagined

Program 1: The Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988 45′

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (arr: Stephen Emmerson)
The virtuosi Ukrainian-Australian-American musical mavericks – pianists Sonya Lifschitz and Lisa Moore – join forces for their sensational duo Sonya and Lisa, as they re-imagine and present the iconic masterpiece – the J.S. Bach Goldberg Variations BMW 988. Exploring the contrapuntal ingenuity and the transcendent spiritual beauty of the original, this two-piano arrangement (by the revered Australian pianist Stephen Emmerson) delivers a beguiling and electrifying musical dialogue.

Weaving an intricate, kaleidoscopic tapestry of colors, textures, articulations and dynamics, Sonya and Lisa conjure up a sense of awe and beauty as the variations unfold. Infinite Variations affirms that the Goldberg maintains its timeless relevance and meaning through the continuously evolving performance traditions. In this new and imaginative version, Sonya and Lisa re-create the piece afresh, allowing it to speak in ever more powerful and compelling ways to contemporary audiences.

Program 2: The Goldbergs paired with music by Philip Glass and George Crumb: 75-90′
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (arr: Stephen Emmerson)
George Crumb (b.1929): selections from Makrokosmos Vol. 1 Twelve Fantasy-Pieces after the Zodiac and Philip Glass (b.1937): selections from The Etudes

The Australian pianists Sonya Lifschitz and Lisa Moore combine forces to re-create and re-imagine the Bach Goldberg Variations. In this new context the variations are shared across two pianos and juxtaposed with solo music by two American composers – Philip Glass and George Crumb. Exploring the contrapuntal ingenuity and the transcendent beauty of the Bach masterpiece, this new duo arrangement (by the Australian pianist Stephen Emmerson) delivers a unique take on the original – a beguiling and electrifying musical dialogue of voices and textures. Interwoven with selections from the timbral genius of George Crumb’s Makrokosmos Vol. 1 Twelve Fantasy-Pieces after the Zodiac (performed by Sonya) and the resonating glory of Philip Glass’s Piano Etudes (performed by Lisa), Sonya and Lisa weave an intricate, kaleidoscopic tapestry of piano colors, rhythms, textures, articulations and dynamics. Afresh, they represent the Goldberg Variations – allowing the original to transform and speak in powerful and compelling ways. As themes unfold and blend, Infinite Variations poetically establishes the timeless relevance of Bach, Glass and Crumb, alive in a new sonic environment of continuously evolving performance traditions.

Tech requirements: 2 grand pianos and two adjustable piano benches

Sonya Lifschitz

Praised by The New York Times and The Age for her “dynamic” and “powerful” performances, Ukrainian-born pianist Sonya Lifschitz is internationally recognized as one of Australia’s most innovative and creative musical voices. In 2015, Sonya made her critically acclaimed solo debut in New York’s BargeMusic series, with other season highlights including performances at the Banff Centre (Canada); Melbourne Recital Centre’s Local Heroes and Spotlight series; Melbourne, Darwin and Port Fairy Festivals; Queensland Conservatorium of Music; 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 and directed a critically-acclaimed multi-disciplinary project (Canzone) for the Melbourne Festival, working at the intersection of visual art, music, and animation. This year, as a Fellow at the Australian National Academy of Music, Sonya will curate 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, notably Kate Neal’s piano concerto Particle Zoo II, Damian Barbeler’s Bright Birds, and two electro-acoustic suites for piano and electronics, by Steve Adam and Anthony Lyons amongst many others. 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.