An intimate portrait concert of music by Australian composer Andrew Schultz was presented at the John Knowles Paine Hall, Harvard University on Saturday evening, 25 March 2023. The concert featured outstanding performers from the US and Australia: Sofia Troncoso (soprano), Alan Toda-Ambaras (cello), Bernard Lanskey (piano) and Stephen Emmerson (piano). The works were written between 1987 and 2014 and each had had its original premiere by Bernard or Stephen.
Click here to download the PDF of the Listening in Paradise program booklet.
The concert included two award-winning song cycles, Paradise and To the evening star, as well as piano works commissioned by Bernard and Stephen. A highlight was the tender piano duet, 12 Variations (‘Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung’) which is based on a brief few bars of haunting music by Beethoven. The program was completed with two solo piano works: Sea-Change and Nocturnes and Variations. Click on the individual works above to hear them on YouTube.
Andrew Schultz was the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at the Harvard Music Department for the 2022-23 academic year. The concert was presented by the Harvard Music Department and sponsored by the Australian Studies Committee at Harvard University.
To the evening star (2009)
12 Variations for piano duet (1997)
Nocturnes and Variations (2014)
Sofia Troncoso, soprano
Sofia Troncoso’s engaging performances and beautiful soprano has been gaining attention on both sides of the Atlantic and recently in Australia. Since arriving in Australia in 2020 she has made major concert, recital, and operatic debuts in almost every major city starting in Brisbane with Camerata for Musica Viva at QPAC and met critical acclaim as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro with Opera Queensland and in multiple concerts with Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Sofia debuted in Sydney with Pinchgut Opera in Cesti’s Orontea, in Melbourne with Orchestra Victoria, and has an upcoming debut with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Previously, Sofia studied, trained, and worked in the UK having retained an Exceptional Talent Visa after completing a Master with Distinction at Royal Academy of Music. Subsequently she won a place in the acclaimed National Opera Studio and took a prize at Les Azuriales International Competition. She went on to sing in concert with Xi’an Symphony Orchestra and debuted as Poppea with Longborough Festival. Sofia was then selected as a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist where she debuted in concert with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In 2020 she was invited back to sing Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Originally from the United States, Sofia is a Northwestern University alumna, and was a young artist for Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival and for Central City Opera. In 2022 she returned to Chicago to debut in Haymarket Opera’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea.
Alan Toda-Ambaras, cello
Recipient of the Prize for Most Promising Contestant at the 2005 Rostropovich International Cello Competition in Paris, Alan Toda-Ambaras is active as both a soloist and a chamber musician. He has performed with Midori; Yo-Yo Ma, Sandeep Das, and other members of the Silk Road Ensemble; the Parker Quartet; the Borromeo Quartet; and has appeared twice as a soloist with the North Carolina Symphony. Recent appearances include performances in Tokyo’s Ohji Hall, Osaka’s Phoenix Hall, National Academy of Music in Vietnam, Massachusetts State Hall, the Taos Music Festival, Harvard University’s Paine Hall, and the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. He has been featured on French television and in several European documentaries due to his participation in the Rostropovich Competition; he has also been heard on NPR’s From The Top program, New York’s WKCR Classical station, and Boston’s Neighborhood News Network.
Alan has a B.A. in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Laurence Lesser. He is a co-founder of the Eureka Ensemble, a young social action-oriented Boston music organization.
Bernard Lanskey, piano
Bernard Lanskey is a distinguished pianist and music leader and educator who recently took up the position as Professor and Director of Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University. Lanskey was previously Dean of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore. Prior to his appointment in Singapore, he was the Assistant Director of Music (Head of Ensembles and Postgraduate Programmes) from 1994-2006 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama London, where he was awarded a Fellowship (FGSM) in 2001. His research interests derive from his longstanding activity as a collaborative pianist and chamber music coach, focusing particularly on exploring the vital role played by metaphor and gesture in the pedagogical process and in performance preparation.
Professor Lanskey grew up in Cairns, where, as a young pianist, he played the cathedral organ and took part in musicals, concert hall recitals and gigs with local pop and jazz bands. His studies took him to the Conservatoire de Paris and the Royal College of Music, London, and he has worked throughout Australia, Southeast Asia, China, the United Kingdom and Europe as a pianist, festival director, recording producer and educator. He has recently performed in concert with Joshua Bell, Renaud Capuçon and Li-Wei Qin, and has made recordings of music by Brahms, Schumann, Schubert and Australian composer Andrew Schultz whose music he has frequently played and commissioned.
Stephen Emmerson, piano
Stephen Emmerson is a Professor at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane where he has taught since 1987. His work in recent years has been heavily involved with developments in practice-based research through post-graduate supervision and interrogations of his own performance projects. He has Masters and Doctoral degrees from Oxford University and is a founding member of the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre. As a student, he studied piano with Pamela Page in Brisbane and later with Peter Wallfisch in London.
He maintains an active career as a pianist both as soloist and in various chamber ensembles regularly performing around Australia and internationally. In addition to solo performances, the focus of his performance career has been within various chamber ensembles including the Griffith Trio (an Ensemble-In-Residence at the Queensland Conservatorium for over a decade), Dean–Emmerson–Dean, the Lunaire Collective and the Endeavour Trio. Over a dozen of his recordings in collaboration with a variety of performers are available commercially, many of these involving new Australian compositions.
7-9pm, Saturday 25 March 2023 (Eastern Daylight Time, USA)
Download the PDF of the Listening in Paradise Program booklet.