"A recital for the modern day...Lifschitz is a theatre actor, an orchestra and a soloist all at the same time." – The Age


Sonya Lifschitz, piano


Sonya Lifschitz is 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.

Sonya has performed on major international stages to critical acclaim including the Barbican Centre (London), De Doelen (Rotterdam), Bargemusic (New York), Detroit Institute of Art (USA), Venice Biennale (Italy), and in many of Australia’s major international arts festival, including Adelaide (AF), Sydney (SF), Melbourne (MIAF), Brisbane (BF), Canberra (CIMF) and Darwin (DF) Festivals; and other prestigious festivals including Extended Play, Metropolis, MONAFOMA, Four Winds and Ten Days on the Island.

Sonya regularly works with pioneering new music ensembles, including Ensemble Offspring, Topology, Clocked Out, and members from Bang on a Can All-Stars (USA) and Eighth Blackbird (USA). She has premiered works by Kate Neal, Robert Davidson, Damian Barbeler, Andrew Schultz, Jessica Wells, Felicity Wilcox, Anthony Lyons, Larry Sitsky, Bree Van Reyk, Max Lyandvert and Steve Adam. Other significant collaborators include Christine Johnston (performance art), Sydney Dance Company, Martin del Amo (dance), Angelica Mesiti (video art), Sal Cooper (video/animation), Bob Scott (sound design), and pianists Stephen Emmerson and Lisa Moore.

Sonya has been featured on ABC and SBS TV and on national radio, including ABC Classic’s Legends, Duet, Festival of Female Composers, New Waves and ABC Radio National’s Music Show. As a Fulbright Scholar Sonya studied with the legendary American pianist Leon Fleisher and currently heads Music Performance and Creative Practice streams at the School of Arts and Media at the University of NSW.


BRAHMS Selections from Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118

JS BACH Chaconne from ‘Partita No. 2 for solo violin in D minor’, BWV1004 (arr. Brahms for Piano Left Hand)

CRUMB Selections from A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979 (1980)

SCRIABIN Prelude and Nocturne for Left Hand, Op. 9 (1894)

JANÁČEK Piano Sonata 1.X.1905

This tapestry of a solo recital assembles some of the most profound works in piano literature spanning four centuries that deal with the idea of loss - loss of a dream, loss of a love, loss of a life, or a loss yet to come. Brahms' unconsummated love for Clara Schumann is most poignantly expressed in his late piano cycle Klavierstuke op.118. Bach's grief at the death of his beloved Maria Barbara is immortalised in one of the greatest monuments to western music, his Chaconne in D minor, arranged here by Brahms for piano left hand (as a gift to Clara). Scriabin's dream of becoming a virtuoso pianist was shattered when he irreparably injured his right hand, composing his Prelude and Nocturne for Left Hand op.9 as an elegy to his dream. Janacek's experience of the violence that broke out on the streets of Brno, where a young worker was bayoneted to death during demonstrations in support for a Czech university, inspired one of the greatest dirges of the 20th century, his Piano Sonata 1.X.1905. Crumb's Little Suite for Christmas is a gloriously imaginative take on the Nativity, as it foreshadows the Passion. Yet, each work in this program is full of hope, full of redemption, full of irrepressible yearning for life.

Format: 70 minutes without interval

  • Grand piano tuned on the day of the performance and piano stool

Sonya is available for piano workshops and masterclasses. In addition to training with world's leading pedagogues, Sonya is a trained Toubman Approach teacher, an approach based on the groundbreaking analysis of the invisible motions that function underneath a virtuoso technique. Toubman Approach has helped countless pianists overcome technical limitations as well as cure playing-related injuries.


April 11-25

June 1 - July 15

September 15 - December 5

Excerpt from JS BACH Chaconne from ‘Partita No. 2 for solo violin in D minor’, BWV1004 (arr. Brahms for Piano Left Hand)

Book an artist

Travel to centres in regional NSW is subsidised through the support of Create NSW. Musica Viva can book the artists, arrange all travel and accommodation, provide posters, flyers and program information.
If you are interested in bringing an ensemble to your town or city, please contact:

Sean Moloney

Manager, Special Projects & Regional Touring


02 8394 6662