The Sonata Project is an ongoing program of new Australian works for piano, played by Bernadette Harvey. Saturday night’s inaugural performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music featured new pieces by Aristea Mellos, Melody Eötvös, Jane Stanley and Ross Edwards and the music is bold and innovative, paving a new path for Australian musicians, and painstakingly created to engage with new audiences. The entire show was stunning, Harvey and Rachel Kent from the Museum of Contemporary Art and their team have transformed the humble piano recital from a bland hall to a space extravagantly decorated to reflect the intensity and passion of the works being performed.

Harvey was dressed in spectacular style by Australian designer Romance was Born, who specialise in playful styles that burst in a riot of colour. She appeared in the first act in a stunning ruffled red concoction from the cult label’s ‘Queen of the Night’ range, which couldn’t have been more fitting (pardon the pun). The ruffles evoked the romantic classical musicians of the European salons in the 1800s, before the music was brought to wider audiences in concert halls.

The entire set was designed with detail to reflect this bygone romantic era, with abstract paintings on the back wall by Sydney artist Lara Merrett, and a series of designer rugs in the foreground. Nothing on set was an accident, but all deliberately picked including opulent oversized floral arrangements by Myra Perez. The undisputed star of the night was Bernadette Harvey though, who is more than a bit of a rock star in the classical world, the audience included many of her students and former students, eager to hear the new music.

After the three sonatas from emerging artists Mellos, Eötvös and Stanley, renowned Australian composer Ross Edwards’  new work brought a nice conclusion in E minor, in keeping with Aristea Mellos’ introduction sonata in the same key. More Sonata Project concerts are planned for 2018, for more information and dates see: https://www.bernadetteharvey.com/performances/2017/11/11/sonata.

above image of Bernadette Harvey by Craig Wall.

This Month in Sydney

18 Oct - 4 Nov
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Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, the world’s largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year, returning to the spectacular Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk from 18 October – 4 November.

The iconic exhibition will see the coastline transformed into a two kilometre long sculpture park over three weeks featuring 100 sculptures by artists from Australia and across the world.

Aqualand proudly returns for its third year as Principal Sponsor, along with the prestigious Aqualand Sculpture Award, which has increased to AUD70,000 in 2018 and will be awarded to an exhibiting artist whose sculpture will be gifted for permanent public enjoyment in Sydney.

In 2017, Aqualand’s sponsorship was renewed for an additional five years and is the most significant in the exhibition’s history, continuing to support the growth of the iconic Bondi exhibition.

As one of Sydney’s most beloved and photographed events, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi attracts over 500,000 visitors over the course of 18 days and signals the beginning of summer in Sydney.