Dr Sonya Lifschitz
Lecturer

Dr Sonya Lifschitz

PhD, MMus, Grad Perf Dip, BMus (Hon)

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of the Arts and Media

Dr. Sonya Lifschitz is an accomplished Ukrainian-Australian performer, pedagogue, researcher, and collaborator of international repute, whose creative practice spans solo and chamber-music performance, curating, producing and presenting new work, directing cross-disciplinary and multi-media collaborations, and actively participating in current cultural debate and arts advocacy.

In 2018-2020 seasons, Sonya made a critically-acclaimed solo debut at the Barbican Centre (London), De Doelen (Rotterdam), and at one of New York’s most prestigious concert venues, Bargemusic, with other highlights including solo appearances at the Sydney (SIAF), Melbourne (MIAF), Adelaide (AF), Brisbane (BIAF), Canberra (CIMF) and Darwin Festivals; Extended Play, Metropolis and MONAFOMA New Music Festivals; and venues such as the Melbourne Recital Centre (Melbourne), City Recital Hall (Sydney), QPAC Concert Hall (Brisbane), National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Elder Hall (Adelaide) and Detroit Institute of Art (Detroit, USA). Sonya’s performances are regularly broadcast by ABC Classic FM, ABC Radio National, 3MBS and 5MBS.

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, Andrew Schultz, Jessica Wells, Felicity Wilcox, Steve Adams, and Anthony Lyons. A passionate collaborator, she has worked with some of Australia’s leading performers and music ensembles, including Ensemble Offspring, Topology, Lisa Moore, Stephen Emmerson, Joe Chindamo, Claire Edwards, Miwako Abe, Caroline Henbest, Vanessa Tomlinson, the Kransky Sisters, Christine Johnston, and members of the Flinders Quartet, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony and Queensland Symphony 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 and has performed extensively in Australia, United States, Israel, Switzerland, Italy, Holland and England.

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 creative practice from the University of Melbourne. Sonya is currently a Lecturer in Music Performance and Convenor of Creative Practice at the University of New South Wales and is a regular ABC Classic presenter.

Sonya’s research interests are increasingly growing in the direction of aesthetic diversification in respect to performance-making in the current cultural, social and economic climate. Of specific interest is creating collaborative, multi-art-form performances with strong social and artistic outcomes. The central tenet of her university award-nominated PhD dissertation “Creative Collaboration in and as Contemporary Performance Practice”, is that the lines of demarcation between the processes of composition and musical interpretation/performance are significantly more blurred than is traditionally perceived. She argues that the composer/performer dichotomy prevalent in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries’ conceptualisation of Western art music is no longer a viable model through which to creatively engage with art music and the practice of music-making in the twenty-first century. She posits that successful (musical) work-realisation is contingent on a symbiotic relationship between the multiple agencies bearing on the final creative outcome, such as the composer, performer, audience, musical notation, performance practice, instrument, and contemporary technologies.

In addition to performing, collaborating and researching, Sonya is a passionate pedagogue who strives to inspire and nurture the unique creative potential in all her students. She is an ardent advocate for music as a powerful agency to affect positive change in the world and uplift the human spirit. In pursuit of pedagogical excellence, she is currently undertaking a Professional Certification Program at the Golandsky Institute (USA) in the Taubman Approach – an innovative, scientifically-grounded pedagogical methodology aimed at assisting pianists overcome technical limitations, develop healthy, co-ordinate virtuosity, and cure playing-related injuries.

www.sonyalifschitz.com

 

Phone
93854873
Location
104 Robert Webster

Contemporary Masters Award, 2015 - Melbourne Recital Centre

Ian Potter Travelling Scholarship, 2014 - Ian Potter Foundation

Alan C. Rose Memorial Fellowship, 2013 - University of Melbourne

Australia Council Skill Development Grant, 2013 -  Australia Council for the Arts

Australia Council Creation/Development Grant, 2011 - Australia Council for the Arts

The Joan Sutherland Travelling Award, 2010 - American-Australian Foundation

Art Victoria Presentation Grant, 2009 - Victoria Arts Council

Australian Post-Graduate Award (APA), 2008

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Post-Graduate Award, 2008 - University of Melbourne

Arts Victoria Creation/Development Grant, 2008 - Victoria Art Council

The Joan Sutherland Travelling Award, 2007 - American-Australian Foundation

Fulbright Scholarship, 2001- Fulbright Commission

Dean’s Grant for outstanding achievements, 2002-4 - Peabody Conservatory, John Hopkins University

Two Career Development Grants, 2003-4 - Peabody Conservatory, John Hopkins University

Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups, 2020 - Australia Council for the Arts

Dean's Award for Best Creative Work, 2020 - Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture, UNSW

Contemporary Masters Award, 2015 - Melbourne Recital Centre

Ian Potter Travelling Scholarship, 2014 - Ian Potter Foundation

Alan C. Rose Memorial Scholarship, 2013 - University of Melbourne

Australia Council Skill Development Grant, 2013 -  Australia Council for the Arts

Australia Council Creation/Development Grant, 2011 - Australia Council for the Arts

The Joan Sutherland Travelling Award, 2010 - American-Australian Foundation

Art Victoria Presentation Grant, 2009 - Victoria Arts Council

Australian Post-Graduate Award (APA), 2008

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Post-Graduate Award, 2008 - University of Melbourne

Arts Victoria Creation/Development Grant, 2008 - Victoria Art Council

The Joan Sutherland Travelling Award, 2007 - American-Australian Foundation

Fulbright Scholarship, 2001- Fulbright Commission

Dean’s Grant for outstanding achievements, 2002-4 - Peabody Conservatory, John Hopkins University

Two Career Development Grants, 2003-4 - Peabody Conservatory, John Hopkins University

Winner of the Tel-Hai International Piano Festival Concerto Competition; Special Prize for Best Performance of Romantic Work, 2002 - Tel-Hai International Piano Festival, Israel

Excellence in Chamber Music Award, 2001 - Peabody Conservatory, John Hopkins University

Lord Mayor of Brisbane Performing Arts Fellowship, 2000 - Arts Queensland

My research areas are: Performance Studies; Performance Creativity; Collaborative Creativity; Performer-Composer Collaboration; Performance-Making and Design;

Fulbright Commission

Australian Music Teachers Assosiation

Recent Major Performances and Projects:

2018

 

Stalin’s Piano –  new multimedia work by Rob Davidson at the City Recital Hall (Sydney).  March 15, 2018.

Stalin’s Piano – new multimedia work by Rob Davidson at the Adelaide Festival. March 11-14, 2018.

Stalin’s Piano – new multimedia work by Rob Davidson at the MONAFOMA Festival in Hobart. January 19-20, 2018.

2017

Sweet is the Torment - collaborative multimedia performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre, November 29, 2017.

ABOVE/BELOW - multimedia performance with piano, music boxes and poetry, QCGU, November 17, 2017.

Stalin’s Piano – new multimedia work by Rob Davidson at the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival. October, 2017.

48 Ways of Looking at Bach at the Melbourne Recital Centre. June 13, 2017, Melbourne.

Stalin’s Piano – World Premiere of new multimedia work by Rob Davidson at the Canberra International Music.Festival. April 31, 2017.

Velvet Revolution – Chamber Music Performance at the Canberra International Music Festival. May 2, 2017.

The Russian Muse – Solo Performance at Canberra International Music Festival. May 2, 2017.

Above/Below: Solo Recital with performance artist Christine Johnston at the St. John’s Feast of Music Festival. February 14, 2017, Adelaide.

2016

Above/Below: Solo Recital, Bargemusic Masterworks Series. December 16, 2016, New York.

Infinite Variations – The Goldberg Re-Imagined: Piano Duo Recital, Detroit Institute of Arts Friday Night Live! December 2, 2016, Detroit.

Infinite Variations – The Goldberg Re-Imagined: Piano Duo Recital, Toledo Museum of Art. December 1, 2016, Ohio.

The Great Romantic – Brahms Piano Concerto in D minor arr. for Piano Duet: EmmersonLifschitz Duo, Melbourne Recital Centre. November 14, 2016, Melbourne.

Cosmic Mechanics – George Crumb Makrokosmos Books 1-4, Australian National Academy of Music. October 15, 2016, Melbourne.

The Architecture of Time: Solo Recital, fortyfivedownstairs Festival of Music and Words. October 2, 2016, Melbourne.

Australian Piano Duo Festival – G. Crumb Makrokosmos Book 3; J. Brahms Piano Concerto in D minor arr. for Piano Duet. September 2-3, 2016, Brisbane.

The Resurrection – Gustav Mahler/H. Bocklet, Symphony No.2 ‘Resurrection’ (arr. for 2 pianos, 8 hands), Melbourne Recital Centre. July 19, 2016, Melbourne.

Above/Below: Solo Recital, Melbourne Recital Centre, Salon: Solo. July 4, 2016, Melbourne.

Crashing Through Fences: Press, Play at Metropolis New Music Festival. Melbourne Recital Centre. May 14, 2016, Melbourne.

O. Messiaen Visions de l’Amen, USQ Arts Theatre, Messiaen at Twilight. April 13, 2016, Toowoomba.

The Piano Mill: World Premiere of Work by Eric Griswold. March 27, 2016, Stanthorpe, QLD.

3MBS Marathon: Mendelssohn Sonata for Violin and Piano in F minor, Hawthorn Town Hall. February 28, 2016, Melbourne.

Brunswick Beethoven Festival: Viola/Piano Recital. February 16, 2016, Melbourne.

Tunes from The Tube: Topology Ensemble and The Kransky Sisters, fortyfivedownstairs Midsumma Festival. January 27-31, Melbourne.

2015

Sweet is the Torment (World Premiere): a multi-media collaboration between Press, Play and multi-award winning animation artist Sal Cooper, Port Fairy Spring Music Festival. October 11, 2015, Port Fairy, Vic.

Canzone – Music as Storytelling (World Premiere): a multi-media collaboration between Press, Play, multi-award winning visual artist Angela Cavalieri and Melbourne arts venue fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne International Arts Festival. October 13-24, 2015, Melbourne.

Goldberg Reloaded: Emmerson-Lifschitz Duo, Kawai Series. August 9, 2015, Brisbane.

Tunes from The Tube: Topology Ensemble and The Kransky Sisters presented by Darwin Festival. August 18 ̶ 20, 2015, Darwin.

8 Hands. 40 Fingers. Infinity of Possibilities: Emmerson-Lifschitz Duo at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Local Heroes Series. Concert recorded and broadcast by ABC Classic FM. July 29, 2015, Melbourne.

O. Messiaen’s Visions l’Amen, Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference. July 7, 2015, Melbourne.

Declaration: Press, Play at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Spotlight Series. Awarded the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Contemporary Masters Award for best performance of contemporary work. June 25, 2015, Melbourne.

World Premiere of Larry Sitsky’s Piano Trio no.10, “Sandakan” by Press, Play, All Saints Church. May 29, 2015, Canberra.

Infinite Variations: Emmerson-Lifschitz Duo at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Local Heroes Series. April 22, 2015, Melbourne.

3MBS Brahms Marathon: J.S. Bach/J. Brahms Chaconne in D minor arr. for Left Hand, Hawthorn Town Hall. February 22, 2015, Melbourne.

Solo Debut and Artist Residency at the Banff Centre, Canada. Canadian Premiere of Rob
Davidson’s “The Art of Agony” and Brett Dean’s “Equality and Prayer” for speaking pianist. January 17 ̶ February 14, 2015.

Here and Now Winter Music Festival Bargemusic, January 1 ̶ 4, 2015, New York.

Music Performance; Performance Research; Collaborative Creativity; Performer-Composer Collaboration; Performance-Making; Ensembles Coaching.