Pianist Sonya Lifschitz is bringing female empowerment to the Canberra International Music Festival

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It’s not often that classical piano feels inviting, accessible, future-facing and, above all, empowering. But internationally-acclaimed pianist Sonya Lifschitz, alongside composer Robert Davidson, has done exactly that.

Echoing throughout Fairfax Theatre on Sunday 7 May, as part of the Canberra International Music Festival’s 2023 line up, Sonya and Robert will showcase the power and multifaceted nature of the piano with their five-part immersive experience,  .

Through a delicate balance of film, audio recordings, and carefully considered musical compositions, the work gives voice to generations of women who have shaped (and continue to shape) our society, culture, and our world. From 20th-century pioneers, trailblazing scientists such as Marie Curie, artistic visions of musician Nellie Melba, and the bravery of contemporary figures such as Julia Gillard and Greta Thunberg.

So Much Myself: Piano Portraits is just one of the many highlights of the 2023 Canberra International Music Festival, where sound not only becomes a vessel to inspire but transports us around the globe—no passport needed. From the Yorkshire-based Brodsky Quartet whisking us off to the UK, to Quatuor Van Kuijk, whose French string quartet feels like an effortless journey across European borders, and didgeridoo legend William Barton who will powerfully bring us back home.

With over 150 artists, 28 concerts, and ten full days of magical magic music making from 28 April – 7 May, the CIMF will continue its legacy of pushing boundaries, rousing fresh perspectives, and using artistry as a means for change—a vision so masterfully brought to life by Sonya and Robert within this multimedia-rich body of work.

“Our show is full of trailblazing female artists, scientists, politicians, and public figures who really brought their fullest selves to challenge traditions, defy conventions and stand up for prejudice and bias,” explains Sonya. “And it feels like that is all of our roles. It’s always the role of the artist, especially when you have a platform to use your voice to advocate for change and advocate for better opportunities and for equality and gender equity.”

“I think it’s so empowering for [the] women of today because the show on the one hand shows how far they’ve come in terms of women’s rights and gender equality, but also, it shows how much further we still have to go.”

As each story of female resilience unfolds, Sonya captures their emotions on stage, absorbing their pain and strength while finding gorgeousl- paced rhythms within their words. Pulsing with the same raw, untapped feminine power that’s so unsettling to those who would seek to contain it.

However, it’s when Sonya connects with the voices of her Ukrainian Grandmother and Great Aunt that the event takes on new meaning—a tender mediation between the past and the haunting reality of Ukraine today.

“The audio is an interview that I did with them a few years ago, and they talk about escaping Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, in 1941 when Nazi Germany invaded and the bombs fell in Kyiv. And the incredibly extraordinary thing about that is that they might as well have described Kyiv 2023 as we see today.”

“So I wanted to use my own voice as an artist to highlight and draw people’s attention to what’s happening and to pay attention to what’s happening in that part of the world.”

Binding together these emotional layers and interwoven multimedia elements is, of course, the beating heart of this production—the piano. It’s what Sonya describes as a “golden thread” that bends and weaves alongside the multidimensional and intimately connects with the audiences—creating more than just an architect of resistance but a work of art.

“The glue and the senior of the work is the piano because if there were only recorded speeches of this woman, it would be a lovely kind of documentary experience of watching a lot of archival material and hearing inspiring stories, but what makes it a work of art, is a lot of performance elements and of course the piano. I think it’s a golden thread throughout the show that connects everything together and synthesises everything so the work can speak directly to the audience.”

The power of Sonya and Roberts’s work can also be found in their ability to transform piano music into something that feels accessible, inviting, and, above all, modern. And for Sonya, this is what the Canberra International Music Festival is about—using sound to paint musical portraits of our contemporary world that can connect with us all.

All that’s left to do is to listen.

“I have a very special relationship with the festival—it always feels like a family,” reflects Sonya. “There are such beautiful people involved, and because it’s quite intimate, it has a family feel where you feel embraced by the festival.”

“And I think the importance of festivals like this for Canberra (and for any city) is that it inspires people, it uplifts, people, it gives people a different perspective to their own. It brings culture, and culture is the absolute lifeblood of civilization and of our lives.”

Sonya Lifschitz’s So Much Myself: Piano Portraits will be performed on Sunday 7 May at Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia. Find more information at


What: 2023 Canberra International Music Festival
When: 28 April – 7 May
Where: Various locations across Canberra

Feature image: Sarah Walker

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John Mellencamp brings the heartland to Hollywood – Pasadena Star News

Singer-songwriter John Mellencamp got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame years ago. He’s in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and there are Grammys, a pair of awards named after Woody Guthrie, and other honors, too.

But there was a time 30 years ago when his beloved grandma wasn’t sure about his prospects for the biggest award of all, Mellencamp told the audience in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Wednesday, March 22.

“She said, ‘You know, Buddy, if you don’t stop that cussing and this wild way of life you’re living, you’re not going to get into heaven,’” he said using the nickname his grandmother always called him.

Grandma’s been gone for years now, though she made it to 100. But we’re here to tell her she shouldn’t worry too much up there in her celestial home. Sure, Mellencamp at 71 still swears like a proverbial sailor, but his beautiful music and big-hearted humanitarian spirit on stage and off should get him through the pearly gates.

“We’re gonna maybe make you think about some things,” Mellencamp said at the close of “Small Town,” one of his signature hits, and the first song of the night to get the crowd up on their feet to dance and sing. And that’s true, whether the thoughts dealt with the human heart or the world in which we all live – one big community, as Mellencamp urged the audience to become.

The curtain raised on a show that spread 20 songs over two hours with Mellencamp and his six-piece band kicking off the roots-rock tune “John Cockers” before sliding into “Paper In Fire” and “Minutes To Memories,” popular album tracks from “Lonesome Jubilee” and “Scarecrow” respectively.

The backdrop on stage was a French Quarter street scene drawn from the movie “A Streetcar Named Desire,” one of the classic movies from which scenes screened with Mellencamp’s commentary mixed in before the show started. Four life-sized figures dressed as film stars such as Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe stood amid the musicians. (Turner Classic Movies is the sponsor of the Live and In Person Tour, the first time the cinema-loving Mellencamp has ever allowed corporate sponsorship.)

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Lollapalooza releases 2023 festival lineup

Lollapalooza released the list of performing artists for their 2023 festival on Tuesday, which included huge names such as Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

The festival takes place annually at Grant Park in Chicago during the summer months. This year, the festival is Aug. 3-6. 

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Other prominent artists making an appearance include indie rock artist Lana Del Rey, K-pop boy band Tomorrow X Together and pop rock band The 1975. 

All of these appearances fit into Lollapalooza’s traditional music styles of mostly pop, rock, rap and EDM, although K-pop is still fairly new to the festival.

TXT will be making their second appearance on the Lollapalooza stage, after making history in 2022 as the first K-pop group to perform in the history of the event.

Reggae and Latin singer Karol G will also make history as the first female Latin headlining performer at the festival.   

The official Lollapalooza website advertises nine different performance stages at the Chicago event, with 170-plus bands from all over the world to fill them.

Along with the massive headlining performances, smaller but still considerably well-known artists will also bring attention to the festival.

These include rapper Yung Gravy, UI’s 2022 Spring Jam artist, breakout indie folk singer Noah Kahan and British DJ Fred Again.

Carly Rae Jepsen, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Diplo, Lil Yachty, Portugal. The Man and Sabrina Carpenter will also appear.

Originally created as a final concert for Perry Farrell’s band Jane’s Addiction, Lollapalooza began as a tour across the United States during the summer of 1991.

The tour was a huge hit and was helped along by the dramatically increasing popularity of the alternative rock genre.

The music festival has been held annually ever since, with a brief pause due to a lack of interest in the late 90s. In 2005, the festival was hosted at Grant Park for the first time and has been there since. 

Although Chicago is considered the “home” of Lollapalooza, the festival is also held annually in countries across the globe, including Germany, Sweden, France and Brazil.

The close proximity of the festival, only a few hours away from the University’s campus, can make it a popular summer destination for University students. 

Presale for tickets began this morning at 10 a.m. CDT. Tickets are still available at


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The $605 Bell signature zone and Le Jardin day passes go on sale April 12 and Groupe Voyages Quebec pass packages remain on sale.

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GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — Mudvayne will bring its new summer tour to Colorado.

The heavy metal band will be joined by Coal Chamber, GWAR, and Nonpoint and Butcher Babies at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre on Saturday, Aug. 26.

“The Psychotherapy Sessions” tour is the first headlining tour from Mudvayne in 14 years, according to Kerrang.

Tickets for the all-ages Fiddler’s Green concert go on general sale Friday, March 24, at 10 a.m. at Tickets are $30 to $75 plus applicable service charges.

Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre is considered one of the best places to catch live music in Colorado each summer.

With a traditional capacity of 18,000, the venue is the largest outdoor amphitheater in the Denver metro area. Located near Interstate 25 and East Orchard Road in the Denver Tech Center, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre offers chair-back and lawn seating.

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Steve Grzanich has the business news of the day with the Wintrust Business Minute.

As the Lollapalooza 2023 lineup is announced, a new report says the event contributed about $335 million dollars to the Chicago economy last year. That’s the equivalent of about 2,500 full-time jobs. The report by a Texas-based research group says the $335 million figure represents a 10% increase over 2021. The music festival generated about $4.2 million in amusement tax revenue for the city. And since 2010, Lollapalooza has generated more than $2 billion for the Chicago economy. Organizers recently signed a 10-year renewal deal with the city. For comparison, the NASCAR event this summer is projected to generate about $114 million for the local economy.

Also, employees at another Chicago museum have announced their intent to form a union. Listen for more below:

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