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Sarah Grunstein to perform J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Praised by the New York Times for her “penetrating musical intelligence”, her performance “tempestuous” and “imbued with a luminous calm”, internationally acclaimed Australian pianist Sarah Grunstein has performed in the United States, Austria, Hungary, Italy, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and her homeland. Sarah Grunstein, who is gaining international acclaim for her performances of Bach will tour Australia in 2016, performing J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations at the Melbourne Recital Center on Thursday 20 October and the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday 25 October.

Sarah Grunstein’s career has been marked by her magnetic charisma, her musical intelligence and sublime expressivity. Passionate about engaging with audiences, her concerts will include her introductory talk with her audiences about the Goldberg Variations.

Many will remember Sarah Grunstein as the pianist who, as a young teenager, performed the soundtrack for Bruce Beresford’s early Australian film, “The Getting of Wisdom.” Sarah Grunstein soon after moved to New York, graduating from The Juilliard School (where she was later appointed as a Teaching Fellow), and earned her doctorate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. A longtime Steinway Artist, her career has included concerts at London’s Southbank Centre, New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Italy, Austria, Hungary, the U.K., New Zealand, and her homeland.
In its demands of musicianship, keyboard technique, and stamina, Bach’s Goldberg Variations is perhaps one of the most challenging works in the keyboard literature. Composed for a two-manual harpsichord, the work demands more of the pianist than even the harpsichordist. The pianist must negotiate the various “hand-crossings” (sometimes one hand directly on top of the other), a physical intricacy and contrapuntal overlapping of which the harpsichordist who would be playing on two manuals, is spared.

Miss Grunstein is passionate about performing Bach. From her early studies with Australian pedagogue Nancy Salas, she learned about 18th-century styles, character, dance, emotion, and improvisatory performance. This was at a time when most people were still performing Bach in a very “rigid” way. She remarks, “People ask me how I do what I do. I’ve studied and played a lot of Bach, and have read much about 18th and 19th century style – not only musical style, but compositional style, improvisation, improvisatory performance (slightly different from improvisation), and the language of various arts genres including dance, visual arts, and literature. Even though I am playing music that was composed for the harpsichord, I treat the piano as a piano and let my ‘pianist-voice’ speak. Keeping in my mind and heart Bach’s compositional language and what I believe was his creative intent, I go to town with it.”

“Miss Grunstein is a versatile, expressive pianist who combines a penetrating musical intelligence with the technical proficiency to realize her ideas. Bach’s C minor Partita, BWV 826, was admirable; the opening Sinfonia tempestuous, the more intimate Courante and Sarabande imbued with a luminous calm.”
– Tim Page, The New York Times

“At Sarah Grunstein’s Bach concerts at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) in February, the opening notes of the Prelude from the Partita in B-flat evoked memories of Dame Myra Hess and Englishman Harold Samuel, i.e., she cared deeply about the music, knew stylistically what to do with it, and (best of all) produced a demure, pearly, singing tone … This Australian native … is an artist worth hearing.” –Harris Goldsmith, American Record Guide

“In a city rich in pianists par excellence, Sarah Grunstein is la crème de la crème. Grunstein’s masterful rendition of the Goldberg Variations held her audience in a sparkling web of enchantment … Her eloquence, the crispness of each note, her total command of the range of tempos demanded by the Variations made music as holy as music gets. … As the hold Glenn Gould maintained over this music has thankfully worn away over the past decade, a plethora of fine musicians has come to the fore; Grunstein is the shining light.”
–Eve Rifkah, Classical Voice of New England

These two concerts are a rare opportunity to hear one of Australia’s finest international pianists.

The Melbourne Recital Center concert is presented by the Australian Bach Society and the Australian Friends of the Tel Aviv University (Victoria) whilst the Sydney Opera House concert is presented by the Australian Bach Society.

WHAT: Sarah Grunstein to perform J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations
WHEN: 25/10/2016 (7:30 pm - 9:00 pm)
WHERE: Sydney Opera House

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