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12 Hands 6 Grands : Sydney Festival 2021


12 Hands 6 Grands : Sydney Festival 2021

  • Date: Tuesday, 19 January 2021, 2pm and 7.30pm
  • Venue: Sydney Town Hall — 483 George St, Sydney, NSW
  • Series: This event is part of the Sydney Festival 2021 series
  • Tickets: Adult: $69 | Concession: $62 (plus booking fee) — Tickets can be purchased online

Event Details

A rare feat – experience six of Australia’s best pianists playing six grand pianos in a virtuosic kaleidoscope of music. Beginning with the genius of Bach, the program also features past and present Australian composers and a generous helping of Latin dance rhythms. 

For a concert pianist isolation is the norm: practising alone and performing solo – so what happens when six of them come together in Sydney’s Town Hall?  

In 12 Hands 6 Grands, the Sydney International Piano Competition’s Artistic Director, Piers Lane, has invited six of Australia’s best female pianists to join in a rare collaboration. Some are laureates of the competition, all are luminaries of the piano.  

Bach’s compositions provide the foundation, beginning with a simple prelude passed around the circle, before the program pivots to Australian music, with arranger and composer Grainger taking his cue from Bach’s dancing rhythms and weaving melodies. There’s reflective calm in music from Kats-Chernin’s Lebewohl concerto; Robert Keane introduces a Latin spirit; and the fabulous Jamaican Rumba inspires a flurry of fingers. 

A collaborative performance of duos, trios and quartet, 12 Hands 6 Grands culminates in an astounding, musically complex performance by all six pianists – unleashing the sheer power and sublime expressive beauty of concert grand pianos. 

Runtime: 70 mins


JS BACH Prelude in C major, BWV 846 (WTK Book 1, No.2 BWV 846) 
JS BACH arr. GRAINGER Fugue in C major (WTK Book 1, No.2 BWV 846) 
JS BACH arr. GRAINGER Toccata in F major, BWV 540
JS BACH Concerto in A minor for four keyboards, BWV 1065
GRAINGER Random Round
KATS-CHERNIN so aflame in love (from Piano Concerto No.3, Lebewohl)
KEANE Three dances from Suite for two pianos [world premiere]
BENJAMIN Jamaican Rumba


Tamara-Anna Cislowska
Bernadette Harvey
Elena Kats-Chernin
Stephanie McCallum
Natalia Ricci  
Kathryn Selby 

Sydney International Piano Competition acknowledges the assistance of its sponsors – Australia Piano World, Kawai, Fazioli, and Sauter.

Further information for this event is available online at the event's website or by phone on (02) 8248 6500 or by email to ticketing@sydneyfestival.org.au

Featured Australian Works

Digital sheet music sample Jamaican rumba : piano duo (4 hands) by Arthur Benjamin
Piano concerto no. 3 : keyboard ensemble ['so aflame in love'] by Elena Kats-Chernin
Random round : keyboard ensemble (1943) by Percy Grainger
Suite for two pianos (duos: 2 pianos) ['Three dances'] by Robert Keane

Featured artists

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