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Members who have had the privilege of watching class at The Australian Ballet School have always been impressed by the ability of the School’s pianists to play excerpts from the classics and adapt them to the immediate needs of the teacher and students. Opening the evening, The School’s Director, Marilyn Rowe OBE said “The dance musician is indeed a specialist, one who must learn to understand the complexities and sequential nature of the training, which is no mean feat, as this takes many years of experience to master”. Paul Brickhill, Head of Music at the School, noted that “dance accompaniment is a collaborative and co-operational endeavour in which a close relationship with the teacher is forged with the aim of nurturing musicality in the student”. He contrasted this with the long, solitary hours the pianist must spend at practice in order to achieve a degree of mastery of the magnificent instrument. On Monday 28 April 2014 we had a rare opportunity to see the results of that dedication as the School’s pianists took on the role of concert artists.

The event was organised by the School as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations and took place in Studio 8 with its grand piano. Appropriately, the Master of Ceremonies was a teacher, Simon Dow.
Guest artists Youri Mouguermann (balalaika) and Evgeny Sorkin (violin) joined School pianists Paul Brickhill, Izabella Mougermann, Keith Ng, and Diane Palmer in brilliant renditions of challenging works. Unfortunately Neil McNeill was unable to take part owing to a recent injury. However a recording of his composition Continuum 2014 was received with great enthusiasm.
 

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Paul Brickhill
Chopin – Grande Polonaise Brilliante Opus 22.
 

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Izabella and Youri Mouguermann (Balalaika)
2 Russian Folk Songs; Katchaturian, Sabre Dance; Monti, Czardasz
 

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Keith Ng
Beethoven – Waldstein Sonata – First Movement
 

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Diane Palmer
Chaminade, 3rd Air de Ballet, Opus 37; Chopin – Etude Opus 10, No. 3;
Sinding – Rustle of Spring

 

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Evgeny Sorkin (Violin) and Larissa Oberfeld
Wieniawski, Fantaisie Brilliante, Opus 20
 

It is no exaggeration to say that the audience, composed of members of the School’s Giving Circle and of the Ballet Society, was wildly appreciative, with many standing to applaud. The performers also thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and the evening ended with the customary supper provided by the Ballet Society.

Photos: Marcus Bennett

 
 

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