Emeritus Professor Larry Sitsky AO
Head of Jury, Foundation Member
ANU School of Music
Larry Sitsky, born in China of Russian-Jewish parents, traveled to Australia in 1951 and settled in Sydney. He studied piano from an early age and was granted a scholarship to the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, where he studied piano and composition, graduating in 1955. Post-graduate studies continued with the distinguished Australian pianist and teacher, Winifred Burston. In 1959 he won a scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory, where he studied with the great Egon Petri for two years. Returning to Australia, he joined the staff of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.
A grant from the Myer Foundation in 1965 enabled him to conduct research into the music of Ferruccio Busoni, on whom he has written extensively. In 1966 he was appointed Head of Keyboard Studies at the School of Music in Canberra (now part of the Australian National University), where he was later Head of Musicology, Head of Composition Studies, Head of Academic Studies and now Distinguished Visiting Fellow, as well as Emeritus Professor.
Larry Sitsky was the first Australian to be invited to the USSR on a cultural exchange visit, organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1977. He has received many awards for his compositions, including the A.H.Maggs award twice: for his Violin Concerto No.1 in 1971 and the Clarinet C Concerto in 1981; the Alfred Hill Memorial Prize for his String Quartet No.1 in 1968 and a China Fellowship in 1983. His work Maherq, for bassoon, won the inaugural prize awarded by the Fellowship of Composers in 1989, and his Secret Gates of the House of Osiris won the inaugural National Critics’ Award in 1989. In 1984 he received the inaugural Australian Composer’s Fellowship presented by the Music Board of the Australia Council. This gave him the opportunity to write a large number of compositions ranging from solo instrumental pieces to large orchestral works, including a Second Violin Concerto (Gurdjieff), Concerto for guitar and Orchestra, Concerto for orchestra (Completion and Realization of Busoni’s “Fantasia Contrappuntistica”) as well as work towards a number of operas. It also enabled him to revise his book Busoni and the Piano and to commence work as pianist on the Anthology of Australian Piano Music. Other books from that poeriod include the 2-Volume The Classical Reproducing Piano Roll, and Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-Garde, 1900-1929. He recorded a CD of the complete sonatas of the Australian composer Roy Agnew, among a number of CDs of Australian piano music.. Larry Sitsky was the recipient of a Fulbright Award in 1988-1989 and won an Advance Australia Award for achievement in music in 1989.
He has had works commissioned by many leading Australian and International bodies, such as the ABC, Musica Viva, the International Clarinet Society, the Sydney International Piano Competition, Flederman and the International Flute Convention. Works from the 90s include a Piano Concerto, In Pace Requiescat for voice and strings, a Trio for flute, clarinet and piano and a Book of Songs for voice and piano.
1993 marked a huge national success with his opera The Golem, whilst 1994 was noted by concerts and performances all round Australia to mark his 60th birthday. His big collection of teaching pieces, Century, was written at this time, as well as an open-ended contract with Seesaw Music in New York.
In recognition of his various achievements, he was granted a Personal Professorial Chair at the Australian National University, and was awarded the University’s very first Higher Doctorate in Fine Arts in 1997. A biography was published in the USA in 1997.
In 1998 he was elected Fellow of the Academy of Humanities of Australia, and 2000 he became a member of the Order of Australia.
More recent books include Anton Rubinstein and Australian Piano Music of the 20th Century. In the opening years of the 21st century, various honours and celebrations were showered on the composer, especially during his 70th birthday year in 2004. Two symphonies appeared during this time. The National Library of Australia published Jim Cotter’s book LARRY SITSKY: CONVERSATIONS WITH THE COMPOSER.
Sitsky is currently Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University. In 2006 he was recipient of another Large ARC Grant to further his research into Australian music, and his massive work for solo piano, THE WAY OF THE SEEKER, received enthusiastic premieres in Canada and Australia.
Professor Ewa Pobłocka
Professor of Piano - Bydgoszcz Music Academy
Professor of Piano - Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (Warsaw)
Guest Professor - Geidei University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo and Nagoya
Program Board - National Institute of Fryderyk Chopin
Ewa Pobłocka – winner of Fifth Prize (equal) and the Polish Radio prize for the best performance of mazurkas in the 10th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (1980). She studied with Zbigniew Śliwiński and Jerzy Sulikowski at the State College of Music in Gdańsk, graduating with honours in 1981. She completed post-graduate studies with Conrad Hansen in Hamburg and benefitted from consultation with Jadwiga Sukiennicka, Rudolf Kerer, Tatiana Nikolaieva and Martha Argerich. She won First Prize in the International Viotti Music Competition in Vercelli (1977) and the gold medal in the International Festival of Young Laureates in Bordeaux (1979). She
has performed throughout Europe and the Americas, as well as in China, Indonesia, RSA, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Australia. She is an accomplished chamber musician and has performed with the Silesian Quartet and the singers Jadwiga Rappé, Olga Pasichnyk and Ewa Podleś. She has given numerous first performances and made world premiere recordings of works by Polish contemporary composers, including Andrzej Panufnik, Witold Lutosławski (first Polish recording of the Piano Concerto with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra under the composer’s baton), Paweł Szymański and Paweł Mykietyn. She has worked with European radio stations and recorded more than forty discs, recently including Grieg’s complete piano works, solo works by Brahms and Schumann, the complete songs of Chopin and an album including Chopin mazurkas and the Sonata in C minor on period piano (Pleyel, 1848). She is a distinguished teacher. As well as teaching piano at Bydgoszcz Music Academy and the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, she is also a guest teacher at the Geidai University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo and Nagoya. She has been a juror of many national and international piano competitions.
Professor Charles Bodman Rae
Elder Professor of Music, and Head of Composition
Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide
Charles Bodman Rae is a composer, conductor and pianist. Since 2001 he has been the Sir Thomas Elder Professor of Music at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, where he has served as both Dean and Director. After private piano studies with Dame Fanny Waterman, founder of the Leeds International Piano Competition, he read music at Cambridge and also studied in Oxford with the composer and Messiaen scholar, Robert Sherlaw Johnson. A postgraduate scholarship from the Polish government took him to Warsaw where he was a visiting composer at the then Chopin Academy of Music (now the Fryderyk Chopin University for Music).
Although his Polish connections are mostly with the music of Witold Lutoslawski (his book on the latter has been through three editions and has been acknowledged through the award of the inaugural Lutoslawski Medal in 2005 and the Lutoslawski Centenary Medal in 2013), there are also some significant Chopin connections. His orchestral versions of the Prelude op.45 (in C sharp minor) and the Nocturne op.48 no.1 (in C minor) received their premieres in 2010 as part of the official Polish celebrations of the Chopin bicentenary. They were performed, recorded and broadcast by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk. Since then they have been performed by most of the major Polish orchestras. These were followed by string orchestra and string quintet versions of the Etude in E flat minor op.10 no.6 (the latter for the Australian Sring Quartet). More recently he has produced an orchestral version of Chopin's G minor Ballade op.23, written for and dedicated to Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Head of Keyboard
Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide
Australian born pianist Lucinda Collins studied at the Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide, graduating with first class honours before going on to complete postgraduate study at the Royal College of Music in London.
Lucinda has performed widely throughout Australia, as well as giving numerous broadcasts for ABC radio. She has also given concerts in the UK and Korea.
In addition to solo repertoire, Lucinda has worked extensively as a chamber musician and has partnered many distinguished artists including internationally acclaimed cellists David Geringas and Lynn Harrell. She has also performed on numerous occasions with
the Australian String Quartet, with whom she toured nationally in 2010, and with whom she will again be collaborating in 2017 to perform Dohyanyi’s C major piano quintet. Amongst other concerts planned for this year, Lucinda will appear as soloist with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra to perform Mozart’s G major Concerto, K453.
Professor Geoffrey Lancaster AM
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University
Geoffrey Lancaster is among the world's most acclaimed fortepianists. In a career spanning 40 years, he has profoundly influenced the development of the historically inspired performance practice movement. He has featured as soloist on modern and early keyboard with such orchestras as the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester; the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic; the Rotterdam Philharmonic; the Gürzenich Orchester Köln; Tafelmusik of Toronto; La Cetra Barockorchester Basel; Ensemble 415 of Geneva, Concerto Copenhagen, and with every major Australian orchestra.
Dr Lancaster studied fortepiano at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague.
He was the first Australian to win a major international keyboard competition, receiving First Prize in the 23rd Festival van Vlaanderen International Mozart Fortepiano Competition, Brugge. Geoffrey is an inspiring teacher and public intellectual, and undertakes regular residencies at significant European conservatoria. Dr Lancaster has held various professorial and emeritus appointments, including at Royal College of Music in London, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, and the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. In 2011 Dr Lancaster delivered the inaugural Henry Wood Lecture Recital at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
His many career honours and prizes include Gramophone and ARIA awards for some of his 54 published recordings, the Australia Council’s Australian Artists Creative Fellowship, the HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship, elected Fellowships of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian College of Educators and the Royal Society of Arts, the Order of Arts and Letters, and the Order of Australia. In 2006, he was Australian of the Year for the Australian Capital Territory.
Since 2014 Geoffrey has lived in Perth, where he is Professor at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University.
Head of Piano Studies
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Anna arrived in Australia in 1995 from Ukraine, where she had a position as a Senior Lecturer at the Kiev State Conservatorium. Currently she is the Head of Piano Studies at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
As a recitalist and soloist with orchestras, she appeared in Eastern Europe, Germany, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia, United States, France, and Japan. The Washington Post wrote: “A brilliant pianist who balanced her sound well and underlined the drama in the music…a dazzling toccata!" In 2001 Anna received the Churchill Fellowship and in 2002 released her highly acclaimed CD of Russian music:
“The very fine pianist who displays a notable keyboard talent in spirited performances. It is a program that is interestingly diverse and constantly attractive, and one that is realized in playing of sparkling brilliance to match the music.”(The Canberra Times). Anna has made numerous live and studio recordings for ABC Classic FM. “…a convincing keyboard athlete with a capacity to generate enormous volumes of sound, negotiating hazardous terrain with ease, leaving little doubt of her skills in coping with ferociously demanding works.” (The West Australian). Anna continues to be in frequent demand for performances, Master classes, conferences and competition adjudication throughout the world.
Pianist, Composer, and Conductor
Melbourne pianist and composer Stefan Cassomenos is one of Australia’s most vibrant and versatile musicians. He has been performing internationally since the age of 10, and is now established as one of Australia’s leading pianists.
Cassomenos gave the world premiere of his own Piano Concerto No 1 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16. His concerto repertoire now exceeds thirty works, and has led to engagements with several major Australian symphony orchestras, as well as orchestras overseas.
In 2013, Cassomenos was a grand finalist and recipient of both the Second Grand Prize and the Chamber Music Prize at the International Telekom Beethoven Piano Competition Bonn (Germany), and he has been a grand finalist and prize winner in various other competitions.
Cassomenos has given solo recitals at many international venues and festivals, including Tonhalle Zurich, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Beethoven Festival Bonn, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Bunkamura Orchard Hall Tokyo, and Junge Stars der Klassik Kirchheimbolanden. Cassomenos now performs regularly in Australia, Germany and the UK.
Our jury comprises some of Australia's most eminent musicians, along with representation from the prestigious National Institute of Fryderyk Chopin in Poland