Press, Play

A performance like this grips an audience so tightly they are left bewildered when it ends.

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Photo credit Judith Crispin.

Fuelled by an immense respect for each other’s artistry and a kindred musical/creative vision, pianist Sonya Lifschitz, flutist Lina Andonovska and their guests, come together to create a tour de force in the interpretation of contemporary chamber music by some of today’s most innovative, exciting, and imaginative musical voices working both in Australia and abroad.

They have performed as a trio to capacity audiences in Melbourne and Brisbane, have been featured as part of the New Music Network’s Mini-Series, have appeared on Radio National’s Music Show and 3MBS radio, and have had several new works written and dedicated to them. The 2015 season highlights include debuts at the Melbourne Recital Centre as part of the Spotlight series, the Melbourne Festival, Port Fairy Festival, a premiere of Larry Sitsky’s Sandakan trio in Canberra as part of the commemoration of the WWII Sandakan marches, and a very special collaboration between Press, Play, visual artist Angela Cavalieri, and an iconic Melbourne arts venue fortyfivedownstairs.

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March 14, 2018, 7:30pm
Adelaide Festival
Stalin’s Piano
Buy tickets here
More information here

A choral setting of Julia Gillard’s ‘misogyny speech’ replete with her every cadence and rhetorical rhythm, went viral a few years ago. The former PM’s musical amanuensis was composer Robert Davidson whose obsession with what he calls “voice portraiture” reaches its zenith in this fabulous and virtuosic multimedia work.

The undisputed hit of the 2017 Canberra International Music Festival, Davidson harnesses the voices and visual footage of 19 artists and politicians (Brecht, Goebbels, JFK, Percy Grainger, Judith Wright, David Malouf, Whitlam and, yes, DJ Trump among them), capturing the music of their often iconic speeches, and crystallising it in a score played live with astonishing brilliance by Sonya Lifschitz. The text is sometimes followed to the syllable, at other times looped and mashed up to create wild flights of what could be mistaken for Cuban jazz riffs.

The title refers to courageous Russian pianist Maria Yudina, an outspoken champion of artistic freedom whose recording of a Mozart concerto was ironically on Stalin’s turntable when he died. Ukrainian born Lifschitz, for whom the music was conceived, approaches her formidable task with equal fearlessness.

Please find Adelaide Festival event detail here:

March 15, 2018, 7:30pm
City Recital Hall Sydney
Stalin’s Piano
Buy tickets here
More information here

“A captivating interplay between piano and the voices of history. ★★★★1/2” Limelight Magazine

A smash hit at its 2017 premiere at Canberra International Music Festival, Stalin’s Piano is a compelling musical exploration of a century of history, art and politics. Celebrated pianist Sonya Lifschitz weaves virtuosic music together with video and audio recordings of eminent artists and political figures in this striking multimedia composition by Robert Davidson.

Musical vignettes of notable identities are entwined with actual excerpts from their lives and work, from Le Corbusier to Shostakovich, Jackson Pollack to Ai Wei Wei, and Julia Gillard to Donald Trump.

Robert Davidson is renowned for unearthing the hidden musicality of speech in his works, creating a new dialogue between voice and instruments.

Praised by the New York Times and The Age as “dynamic” and “powerful”, Sonya Lifschitz is internationally-recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative and fiercely creative musical voices.


Sonya Lifschitz piano
Duration: approximately 60 minutes, no interval


Standard $30
City Recital Hall Member $25

May 12, 2018
Melbourne Recital Centre
Life Cycle

May 23, 2018
ANU School of Music

May 24, 2018
WSU School of Music

June 4, 2018
Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)

June 14-17, 2018
Recitals Australia

Look & Listen

Robert Davidson, City Portraits:
Commission & Collaboration
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Cosmic Mechanics:
Festival Curation (Australian National Academy of Music)
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The Architecture of Time:
Crumb & Tchaikovsky
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Press, Play:
Andrew Byrne White Bone Country (live from fortyfivedounstairs, excerpt)
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Emmerson/Lifschitz Duo:
J.S. Bach/arr. Emmerson Goldberg Variations (trailer)
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“Sonya, Lina and Leah make a wonderful and refreshing new Trio for the Australian music scene. When appearing in Brisbane’s DeClassified Music series in October this year, they made it clear that they would not be simply treading carefully in the footsteps of their predecessors, but would be asking questions, trying new things, and making sure that Australia was keeping in touch with trends set by avant garde musicians in world centres. Complete technical control, instrumental familiarity and the trio’s respect and regard for one another were obvious to those in the audience. All left the concert with shining eyes, having been on a journey through spaces of introspection, meditative peacefulness and disciplined madness.”

Brieley Cutting, Artistic Director, Declassified Music Series

Read the review Canzone: Music as Storytelling

Read the review Crashing Through Fences
(Metropolis New Music Festival, 2016)

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Morton Feldman: Why Patterns? c. 1978

John Luther Adams: After the Light c. 2001 (arr.)

Larry Sitsky: Sandakan Trio c. 2015

Randall Woolf: Between Me, Myself and the Lamp Post c. 2015

Doina Rotaru: Crystals II c. 2003

Rob Davidson: Cuban Missile Crisis c. 2013 (arr.)


David Lang: Vent (fl, pno)

John Luther Adams: Red Arc/ Blue Veil (perc, pno)

John Psathas: Matre’s Dance (perc, pno)

Teruyuki Noda: Eclogue (fl, perc)

Andrew Byrne: White Bone Country (perc, pno)