The Theme & Variations Foundation held its annual fundraiser on February 8, 2014 at the piano showroom in Willoughby


Renowned international pianist, Alexander Gavrylyuk, treated a select and highly supportive audience to a stage conversation and performance demonstration.  His interviewer was well-known musicologist, David Garrett, who posed questions about Gavrylyuk’s Australian concert tour and the thought processes that go into making music.


Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales


This unusual and absorbing evening was attended by Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales, and the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, Speaker of the House of Representatives.  Both these ladies are confessed lovers of classical piano.


Opening the event, Professor Bashir said, “It’s a joy to know we are going to be hearing this exceptional pianist, this exceptional artist, this young man who reminds me of the greatest pianists that I recall coming to Sydney.  They played in the Town Hall, long before the Opera House was built.”


Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, Speaker of the House of Representatives


Later, Ms Bishop said, “Tonight illustrates how this foundation plays an important role. The people who come and support us are very special, because without their generosity, without their believing this is important, then young people’s talent will not flourish. And the world will be poorer.”


“You allow something magic to be released into the world by developing that talent which is natural, and a gift for those who have it.”


The Theme and Variations Foundation used the funds it raised last year to assist three young Australian pianists who needed a helping hand.  One of them, Tony Lee, attended the function to meet guests, while the second, Hank Xiang, is studying in St Petersburg under a scholarship.  The third, eleven year old prodigy, Joshua Han, is a student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and already playing recitals to wide-eyed Australian audiences.


Zoki and Alexander Gavrylyuk, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop and Andrew McKinnon


This year, the foundation will again be on the lookout for talented young pianists in need.


For more information see


For a special article in LIMELIGHT magazine online newsletter CLICK HERE


Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales, Mrs Nyree Vartoukian, Flight Lieutenant Paul Summers, and Mr Ara Vartoukian


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