Sonya Lifschitz & Robert Davidson
Sonya Lifschitz performing Stalin's Piano in Sydney City Recital Hall


On March 5 1953, Joseph Stalin died in his bed. Spinning on his record player was Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23, performed by his pianist of choice, the formidable Maria Yudina.
An outspoken champion of new music and artistic freedom, Yudina was banned, suspended or exiled time after time. Yet, whilst so many of her fellow artists ‘disappeared’ or were purged by the KGB, Yudina outlasted Stalin and lived to tell her story.

Robert Davidson’s new work, conceived with and for the Ukranian-born and equally fearless pianist Sonya Lifschitz, takes us into the heart of the ever-simmering conflict between state and individual, with contributions from people as diverse as Goebbels, Ai Wei Wei, Jackson Pollock, Whitlam and Yudina herself.

Weaving together virtuoso piano music, the recorded voices of iconic creative and political figures, video and Sonya’s speaking voice, this new composition by Robert Davidson is a devastating and captivating exploration of the big themes of modern history.