Dr. Sonya Lifschitz is an accomplished Ukrainian-Australian performer, educator, researcher, and collaborator of international repute, whose creative practice spans solo and chamber-music performance, curating, producing and presenting new work, directing cross-disciplinary and multi-media collaborations, and actively participating in current cultural debate and arts advocacy.
Praised by the New York Times and The Age for her “dynamic” and “powerful” performances, and by the Woodstock Times for her “miraculous keyboard technique and musicianship”, Sonya Lifschitz made her debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at age 18 and is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative and fiercely creative musical voices. In 2016-2018 seasons, Sonya made a critically-acclaimed solo debut in one of New York’s most prestigious concert venues, the BargeMusic, with other highlights including performances at the Melbourne (MIAF), Adelaide (AF), Brisbane (BIAF), Canberra (CIMF), Darwin, Metropolis and MONAFOMA Festivals; and venues such as the Melbourne Recital Centre (Melbourne), City Recital Hall (Sydney), QPAC Concert Hall (Brisbane), National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Elder Hall (Adelaide) and Detroit Institute of Art (Detroit, USA). Her recent performance of the world premiere ‘Stalin’s Piano’ by Robert Davidson at the Canberra International Music Festival received a 4.5 stars review in the Limelight Magazine, and a recent performance of Larry Sitsky’s piano trio, Sandakan, commissioned by her contemporary music ensemble Press, Play, received the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Contemporary Masters Award for the best performance of new work. Sonya’s performances are regularly broadcast by ABC Classic FM, ABC Radio National, and 3MBS and she has appeared on radio in interviews with Andrew Ford, Margaret Throsby and Alice Keath.
Sonya is increasingly active as a music curator and director, creating innovative, cross-disciplinary, multimedia works that re-contextualise the classical canon and push the boundaries of conventional concert practices. In 2015 she directed and performed a critically-acclaimed multi-disciplinary project (Canzone) for the Melbourne Festival, which integrated performance, visual art, and animated projections to re-imagine music of Claudio Monteverdi through contemporary lens. In 2016, as a Fellow at the Australian National Academy of Music, Sonya directed and presented a fully staged, multi-space performance of all four books of George Crumb’s Makrokosmos in collaboration with Australia’s leading theatre and lighting design artists as well as the students and faculty of the Academy. In 2017, she has premiered a multimedia work for piano and video (Stalin’s Piano) at the National Gallery of Australia, integrating archival footage of iconic creative and political figures, virtuoso piano music and spoken word.
A Fulbright Scholar, Sonya studied under the legendary pianist-conductor Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory of Music (John Hopkins University, USA). Currently, Sonya holds a Lecturer in Music Performance position at UNSW and has previously been a Lecturer in Performance (Piano) and pianist in the Ensemble-in-Residence at the ANU School of Music. Sonya is a regular presenter on ABC Classic FM radio.