2015 has seen some good times and not so good times for us all. Ultimately, time shapes us into who we are and how we tackle future challenges and enjoy future victories. The past year has seen various changes at Theme & Variations, however we remain steadfast in our mission to provide the best level of expertise and customer care possible, and continue to support and assist the musical and artistic landscape of this country.
In the past 12 months there have been several highlights, and we now take a moment to revisit some of the good times and some of the special people we have shared them with. Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, this is the 12 highlights at T&V!
12. Emerging Artists
With each concert having 2 junior and 1 senior participant, there were 4 concerts in total this year – including one with a special guest appearance from Tony Lee (the winner of our inaugural Foundation award in 2013). Performers were invited from all schools, high schools and institutions that we partner. Emerging winner was Enrico Mainas from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Professor Michael Brimer was the adjudicator for the series, with a final ‘best performer’ announced on the November 1st. Professor Brimer has led a distinguished performing and academic career, having been on staff at the University of Western Australia, Monash University, University of Natal, University of Cape Town and University of Melbourne. For the interview with Enrico, click here.
11. Theme & Variations Foundation Award
Officially the Foundation came into being in 2011 to formalise the help Ara and Nyree Vartoukian have always given to young pianists. It is a stand-alone, not-for-profit organisation to assist promising young Australian pianists. This year, the awards were finalised at the end of November, giving three awards: Robbin Reza, James Guan, and William Shi.
10. Theme & Variations Foundation Fundraising Events
This year we were privileged to have two incredible pianists perform at our showroom to fundraise for the Foundation. Avan Yu performed on the 17th of May and Piers Lane performed on the 20th of July – both beautiful events that we were able to share with our the Foundation’s generous supporters.
9. Sydney Symphony Orchestra Pianists in Recital
We were again proud to present (along with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra) the Pianists in Recital Series at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place. In blazes of semiquavers, artistically carved phrases and every spectrum of volume and colour, Louis Lortie, Peter Serkin, Yuja Wang and Kirill Gerstein certainly served up a treat. With four concerts in total we heard masterpieces of Faure, Scriabin, Chopin, Bach, Liszt and Beethoven and more. Can’t wait to see what the series next year brings!
8. Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition
With a brand new Steinway Model D supplied by Theme & Variations, the 2015 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition was an outstanding success. With Ayesha Gough taking out the top prize, this young star is well on her way to becoming a very notable name in the classical music scene! For the interview with Ayesha, click here.
7. Hallelujah, it’s Rufus!
Rufus Wainwright took some time out to visit our showroom in Willoughby in March this year. The notable American-Canadian pianist, singer-songwriter has recorded seven albums of original music and numerous tracks on compilations and film soundtracks – including the Hallelujah from the 2001 DreamWorks movie ‘Shrek’.
6. T&V in the Tropics
Theme & Variations was again proud to support the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition, and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. This involved sending 8 pianos to the Civic Theatre and Pit Building in Townsville, QLD and all the logistical challenges that came with it!
5. Where the Wine things are…
Joining Musica Viva for the Huntington Estate Music Festival was definitely a highlight this year! One of our beloved Model D concert grands made the trip to Mudgee for another fabulous Huntington Festival in November. Ian Munro, Amir Farid, Christoph Eggner were among the ivory-ticklers in another splendid festival!
4. A Lecture by Ken Unsworth
In early November, Ken Unsworth unveiled his most recent piano-installation, entitled ‘Fascination’. Presented in a special lecture at the showroom, the lecture discussed his career, his works and inspirations. The debut performance was given by T&V marketing manager, Andrew Rumsey. For more information, click here.
3. Eggner Trio
To a very select group of Musica Viva customers, the Eggner Trio performed a wonderful concert at our showroom. The three brothers of the Eggner Trio – Georg, Florian and Christoph, performed a wonderful program…all the while rehearsals were being undertaken downstairs in the workroom! To read more, click here.
2. Everybody, Take Six
To celebrate our 30th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of the Sydney Conservatorium, Theme & Variations put on a show featuring 6 Steinway Concert Grands, 10 well-seasoned pianists and 4 world premieres. Both the audience and performers enjoyed themselves tremendously and much chocolate birthday cake was consumed! To read a review of the event and catch a glimpse of the night, click here.
1. From Russian with Love
Senior technician, Ara Vartoukian, was selected to tune for Steinway at the 2015 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. This is an exceptionally high honour for an Australian technician to be hand-selected to fly to Moscow to maintain the Steinway piano in one of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions. There were many significant moments: like nearly being refused entry to the country, meeting Vladimir Putin and seeing a pianist overcome the death of his mother during the competition to ultimately take out the first prize! For more information, click here.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!