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Pianist Roger Woodward announces Elisabeth Murdoch Hall show

09 Jun 2016

Pianist Roger Woodward announces Elisabeth Murdoch Hall show Image

By Nicholas Li 

World-renowned Australian pianist Roger Woodward returns to Melbourne to perform at the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall on June 23.

Born in Sydney in 1942, Mr Woodward is one of Australia’s most cherished exports, leaving the country in 1965 to study in Warsaw.  

Based in San Franciso, Mr Woodward has performed with orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the New York, Los Angeles, Israel and China philharmonics.  Mr Woodard will be performing pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Debussy and contemporary composer Andrew Batt-Rawden.

In preparing for his tour, Mr Woodward said Melbourne held great significance for him.

“It is the city where I began my career so it’s a very special place for me,” he said.

Winning the Commonwealth Vocal and Instrumental Competition in 1964 at the Melbourne Town Hall was the moment that kick-started his career and life overseas.

Mr Woodward said returning and performing for Australian audiences was a unique experience comparable to performing for those in Europe or the United States.

“It’s special because I’m from there and walking among Australians, feeling Australian and being with Australians is always very special for the two million of us who work and live abroad,” he said.

“When we come to our native land it’s always an incredibly moving experience. I can’t describe it, it’s an overwhelming experience for me.”

Mr Woodward said he left Australia at a time when opportunities to make a career out of classical music were even more limited than they were now.

“I wanted to continue my studies. It was a time when you had to go somewhere else,” he said.

“We thought we had to leave to achieve anything. I went to Poland in the middle of the Cold War and from there I went to London.”

“I think we’re over this now. Australians really know they’ve got wonderful musicians. The distance doesn’t exist anymore, Australia is so cosmopolitan and busy in every way artistically.”

Despite reaching the pinnacle of classical music, Mr Woodward said his passion for his craft was as strong as ever.

“The privilege of making music, especially with colleagues, is the thing that is most important. The actual creating of the sound on a deep and meaningful level – this is what’s important to create a beautiful sound,” he said.

“The physics and the chemistry it ignites. There’s a spark and something happens. The performer’s contact with the audience is something inspirational.”

Despite his love for classical pieces, Mr Woodward said he had always placed great importance on performing and promoting contemporary works.

“I’ve always worked very closely with composers and I’ve been very grateful for that. There are some magnificent young composers in Australia at the moment,” he said.

“Without integrating recent music into your repertoire your art will be neglected.”

Roger Woodward plays Elisabeth Murdoch Hall June 23.  For tickets and more information visit www.melbournerecital.com.au

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