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‘The Sculptor’s Studio’ premieres at the Australian Circus Festival

21768496_753025771488575_3780844640841414266_n“The Sculptor’s Studio” premieres this week at the Australian Circus Festival!!! Shot over a week-long residency in Carrara, Italy in July in collaboration with Candy Stripe Circus, Studio Alnassar and members of The Freestyle Orchestra, together as The Marble Circus.

“A 20 minute black and white short film that takes you on a beautiful whimsical journey through the mind of an Artiste using circus, music, art and love”.

Showing at both the Premiere and Gold shows on 13 and 16 November!
More info and trailer here.

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‘Music in Motion’ in London

Excited to be joining the London Musical Arts Orchestra for their project ‘Music in Motion’ which aims to explore how movement can enhance communication of the music to an audience. Awesome team and interesting rehearsals so far!

Concerts at St Martin in the Fields (21 and 26 October)
Concerts at Conway Hall, London (28 and 31 October)

The Freestyle Orchestra in Switzerland

21056109_855555131261526_1139387361239014896_oLooking forward to our sold-out show at Les Jardins Musicaux classical festival tonight!!

We will be playing in the beautiful ‘Grange Aux Concerts’ hall, this time including fire and aerial performance as well as our usual fusion of classical music with modern circus. 🙂

With a cool range of music and styles and a good dose of Australian repertoire (including the official premiere of ‘The Muthafukaz’ by Chloé Charody) …will be a fun one!

International Storytelling Festival Austria!

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Excited to deliver an Aussie injection to the International Storytelling Festival Austria!

Performing brilliant solo violin works by Chloé Charody (‘The Phoenix’) and Daniel Masmanian (‘Fire is in mine ears’) as part of the ‘MQMagicStories’ program which explores all different ways of telling stories – with and without words. 🙂

Privileged to work with such an amazing team, and alongside incredible artist from around the world! MuseumsQuartier Vienna main square from 19:30!

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‘Hot Box Girls’ Season Finale

IMG_2653Tonight 8pm @ Kabarett Vindobona – The Season Finale of The Hot Box Girls Present: L’Opera Burlesque.

Always such a pleasure to share the stage as ‘Harlequin Phoenix’ with the amazing, inspiring, strong women of The Hot Box Girls Wien / Vienna 🙂

#violin #fire #pyroviolinist#loveandglitter #burlesque #hotboxgirlswien

Back in September!

Representing Australia at the ‘World Museum’

IMG_2636Representing Australia on violin and double bass at the “World Museum” in Heldenplatz Vienna tonight! A musician from each continent plays solo improvised music depicting their homelands in unfinished rooms of the museum as guests wander through, before assembling all together in concert at the end. Beautiful concept by Mr Paul Gulda.
 
(‘Flower soldier’ costume originally created for my 2014 performance of Ross Edwards’ ‘Maninyas’ in Vienna – referencing Ken Done and Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior and evoking for me the colours and images of the Australian bush and wildlife).

“The Freestyle Orchestra” at the Venice Biennale!

The Freestyle Orchestra take the stage for the Venice Biennale tonight!! Super proud that 5 of the 8 pieces we will present are by Australian composers, including the brilliant Nigel Westlake, Chloé Charody and Daniel Masmanian. If you don’t know their music already, check it out – seriously amazing. 🙂IMG_2552

Ross Edwards’ “Maninyas” with The Houston Ballet in Germany

I am so so excited and honoured to be performing Ross Edwards’ incredible Violin Concerto “Maninyas” and Mozart Violin Concerto no. 5 as soloist with the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz and the Houston Ballet at the Theatre I’m Pflazbau on 7 & 8 April!!!

The concerts feature a trio of ballets choreographed by the amazing Stanton Welch – Tapestry (set to Violin Concerto no. 5 by W.A. Mozart), Maninyas (set to Maninyas Violin Concerto by R. Edwards) and Velocity (set to ‘Green’ and ‘Ash’ by Michael Torke).

A very Aussie event – with Australian composer (Ross Edwards), Australian choreographer (Stanton Welch), Australian conductor (Simon Hewett) and me! 😀 #oioioi

More info and tickets here.

‘Harlequin Phoenix’ debut with The Hot Box Girls Vienna

Getting my Opera education in a Burlesque club. 🙂 Looking forward to debuting as ‘Harlequin Phoenix’ with the amazing The Hot Box Girls Wien / Vienna at Kabarett Vindobona tomorrow night (yes of course there is fire involved) ;).

Monthly shows until the end of the year! Hope to see you!!

“Nigel Kennedy & Friends” UK shows

Great to be back in the UK for two very special shows “Nigel Kennedy & Friends” at Symphony Hall, Birmingham (11 March) and Royal Albert Hall, London (14 March). Guest artists include Jean-Luc Ponty, Georgi Andreev, Michael Guttman, Peter Daniel and Robert Plant.

Coming home! Australian performance dates. :)

24e0d7ff-1c12-4143-82b5-3e8d571d990b* with Nigel Kennedy + Band (New Four Seasons + Dedications)

27 & 28 Jan – Sydney Opera House
29 Jan – Australian Open Tennis pre-final show
30 & 31 Jan – Melbourne Hamer Hall
2 Feb – Brisbane QPAC
5 Feb – Perth Concert Hall

 
* The Carnival circus-opera

17 & 18 Feb – The Concourse, Sydney

Hope to see you! x

Benefizkonzert with Johannesgasse Solisten

Tonight! Mahler 1 with a twist… 🙂 Celebrating 50 years of relations between Austria and Burkina Faso, proceeds going to the ÖJAB Project “Street Children of Ouagadougou”. I feel privileged to play under conductor Attilia Kiyoko Cernitori as concertmaster of this beautiful ensemble made up of musicians from all over the world. Nothing is impossible. 😉 Event info here.

Charity Christmas Concert for the Australian Embassy Vienna

Tonight!!! Join us for a Charity Christmas concert and some awesome good vibes, possibly the most Australian song ever written by Bach, as well as my Vienna double bass debut.

Plus you’ll be supporting the awesome work of CaritasVienna and Diakonie Österreich. Made possible by Kate Louise Rafferty, Concerts for Vienna and Australian Embassy – Vienna. Event info here.

Artists for change

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My amazing friend Abe McWilliams has started this beautiful initiative – artists reaching out internationally to spread love and tolerance through performances, flashmobs, actions and peaceful demonstrations – to combat hate in the best way we know how – with art. First events are being planned in London UK, Boston USA, and Vilnius Lithuania. Please check out the facebook page, mission statement and feel free to get in touch with your ideas!

“Concerts for Vienna” Season Launch!

Joining some amazing artists (pianist Alfredo Ovales, tenor David Jagodic and fellow Aussie, soprano Kate Rafferty) for the launch of Kate’s new series “Concerts for Vienna”!!! Hope to see you there!
21 October, 19h
Karl-Borromäus Saal (Karl-Borromäus Platz 3, Vienna 1030).
Tickets here.

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Celebrating Jarek Śmietana

Back in Poland this week, leading the Extra Sounds Ensemble for a beautiful event celebrating the life and music of the legendary Jarek Śmietana. If you are anywhere near Krakow, come!! More event information here.

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‘The Freestyle Orchestra’ – Audience Choice award, Tarisio Young Artist Grants 2016!!!

To everyone who supported us by sharing and voting – we did it!!!
The Freestyle Orchestra are the recipients of the Audience Choice award for the 2016 Tarisio Young Artist Grants!!!
Cannot wait to share the results of our training with you very soon. For now, a small video from us with a huge thank you!! 🙂

‘New Moves’ with the Dutch National Ballet

Excited to be back at the Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam this week, rehearsing and performing ‘The Phoenix’ – a new piece for solo violinist and solo dancer (Joey Massarelli) for the New Moves choreography festival. Choreographed by Remi Wortmeyer and composed by Chloé Charody, performances on 24 June. More info here.

 

Benefit Concert with Johannesgasse Solisten

Performing tonight as Concertmaster with the Johannesgasse Solisten (Vienna) and conductor Tilly Cernitori, raising funds or ÖJAB’s ‘Street Children of Burkina Faso’ project. More info here.

 

***Please Vote*** The Freestyle Orchestra shortlisted for Tarisio Young Artist Grant!

Thrilled that one of my projects, The Freestyle Orchestra, has been selected for the audience voting round for the Tarisio Auctions Young Artists Grants 2016!!!

That means we need your assistance – please help us by clicking the link and voting for us (bottom of page, under Sonja Schebeck). Will take max 5 seconds and we’d really appreciate it! 🙂
http://tarisio.com/news/young-artists-grants-2016-winners/
 
A little introductory video:
 

Back on the road with Nigel Kennedy

Amazing to be back with a most important part of my musical family, touring the UK with Nigel Kennedy and members of the Orchestra of Life.

Program includes Nigel’s new take on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as well as some of his own pieces entitled ‘Dedications’ – each to mentors of his own. Lots of fun! More info and dates here.

 

New fire piece at Mosaïque Wien!

Back for Mosaïque Wien this weekend for a Shakespeare themed Mini-Festival!

Performing violin/fire eating/manipulation alongside one of my partners in crime from The Freestyle Orchestra, violinist/fire artist/acrobat Farid Feyzullayev, for our semi-choreographed version of the solo violin work ‘Fire is in mine ears’ by the seriously talented composer/conductor/pianist Daniel Masmanian (UK/Australia). Our most ambitious fire work to date, we cannot wait to share it with you!!

These things cannot be done without an awesome team; special thanks to Antonio Chorbadzhiyski (safety) and Georgina Oakes (rehearsal support).

Event also features the Vienna Theatre Project, Chanda VanderHart, some brilliant singers and musicians, a distinct possibility of some puppetry and fencing, and catering from the vegetarian chef-duo ‘Food of Love’. Details and tickets here!

Zirkus Pikard Season Opening!

Thrilled to be playing once again alongside cellist Antonio Chorbadzhiyski and the amazing team at Zirkus Pikard tonight for the new season “Träume werden Wirklichkeit” (dreams become reality), opening in Mannersdorf! 🙂 Some incredible new acts (and props!) debuting tonight!! ❤

Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity in London

Thrilled to be playing with this amazing new ensemble – melding universal music with global issues – for their inaugural concert at the Menier Chocolate Factory Studio in London tomorrow night! Featuring Francesca Martinez (comedian, activist and writer) speaking about climate change and social responsibility.

Unfortunately sold out this time (go team!) but please head over to their Facebook page here and give it a like for future events.

Farewell 2015

Busy few weeks back in Vienna to close out the year, from sitting in again with the amazing Wiener Symphoniker accompanying Igudesman & Joo at the end of November, to appearing in benefit concerts with new groups Johannesgasse Solisten (for ÖJAB’s ‘Street Children of Burkina Faso’ project) and Ensemble Australis (supported by the Australian Embassy in Austria for refugee projects of Caritas and Diakonie) – and being reminded time and time again how lucky I am to be surrounded with such amazing and inspiring artists!

Plus of course hard at work training with my amazing Freestyle Orchestra crew and generally cooking up some new and crazy projects that I can’t wait to share with you in 2016.

If you are reading this, many many thanks for your support and here’s to seeing you at a concert soon! 🙂

Nigel Kennedy’s New Four Seasons

Super proud to have played on this record, released on October 9! A short album trailer here:

Lucerne Festival with Igudesman & Joo and the League of X-traordinary Musicians

Good times rocking the stage once more at the KKL with my ‘X-traordinary’ colleagues at the Lucerne Festival! The theme of this years festival was ‘Humour’ and who would be more fitting than Igudesman & Joo? 🙂

More info and tix here. A little hint of the madness:

NÖKISS Festival!

Super excited to be playing at the Niederösterreich Kinder Sommerspiele in Herzogenberg as part of the Zirkus Pikard “Zirkus Gala” tonight! Performing excerpts from ‘PyroViolinist’ fireshow alongside cellist Antonio Chorbadzhiyski. Pics: The Zirkus Pikard tent and my ‘Human Candelabra’! 🙂
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Mosaïque in collaboration with Zirkus Pikard

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Delighted to be joining the team at Mosaïque to reprise the opening show from this season “CIRCUS” under the Big Top in collaboration with Zirkus Pikard.

This Saturday, June 13th at 7PM, we’ll be in the red and white tent at Aupark, Klosterneuburg, joining the crew of Zirkus Pikard for an evening of classical music combined with trapeze, juggling, aerials, fire and a host of other surprises. I will perform excerpts from ‘PyroViolinist’ fireshow with the amazing Chanda VanderHart and other violin madness including Saint-Saens Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso featuring the incomparable Deirdre Brenner as pianist/mime and excerpts from Ravel Sonata no. 2 featuring juggler Alexander Schneller. Popcorn and cotton candy await so come on down, will be a fun night!

Special thanks also to Deirdre Brenner for being my fire safety for the night. 🙂

CD Release: Extra Sounds Ensemble ‘Metamorphoses’

So proud to have been a part of this awesome project, the debut recording from the Krakow-based Extra Sounds Ensemble with Alicja Śmietana and Pekka Kuusisto! Available on CD and iTunes. Released April 15, already chalking up sweet reviews across the continent. Go team!

A little behind the scenes action here for you. Hot tip: kickass La Folia at 0:54. 😉

Tribute to Luba Schebeck

With greatest sadness, I announce the passing from sudden stroke of my beautiful mother Luba Schebeck on 12 March 2015 in Sydney, Australia at the age of 69.

Maa and Sonja

I wish to pay respect to the fact that if it were not for my mother I would not be a musician.

I became entranced by the violin after attending a Baby Prom by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and from then on mimicked the movements with any objects I could find.

After making inquiries, my mother discovered the Suzuki Method and she was there from the start, from attending lessons and supervising practice as per the Suzuki violin school from the beginning of my studies at age 3 with Barbara Hayward, sewing dresses for concerts, to taking pages and pages of notes during masterclasses and lessons with my professor at the Sydney Conservatorium, Christopher Kimber. She hardly ever missed a concert and luckily was even present to observe my very last violin lesson with Professor Florian Zwiauer before I completed my Masters examination in Vienna.

Though not inherently musical, she always gave me her unwavering support and will remain my strongest influence in wishing to create classical music concerts that appeal to a wider audience. An electrical engineer by trade, she worked with Siemens by personal invitation on the circuits and computerised stage lighting at the Sydney Opera House. As such, it is extremely special for me whenever I perform there.

I could not have wished for anything else in a mother except more time. I will be forever thankful for her grounding support which gave me the foundation to follow my own path in music and am grateful that though unconscious, I was able to be by her side for the last days and play for her one last time in the ICU, and then of course at a ceremony filled with music and wonderful memories.

Rest in peace my incredible mother. I am grateful for the time we had. Words cannot do justice to the profound influence you will continue to have on my life. With deepest love and respect.

(Photo: taken by Markus Wögerbauer during my parents’ visit to Vienna, Xmas/New Year 2014/15)

CD Release: ABC Classics Compilation

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A 2008 recording of ‘Variations on an Epitaph’ composed by Chloé Charody and performed by myself alongside pianist Lindsay Gilroy has been selected for inclusion in the upcoming ‘Music for the Journey Home – As Heard on Classic Drive’ compilation, to be released on ABC Classics (Australia) on February 6.

More details here.

Igudesman & Joo and the League of X-traordinary Musicians NYE show

Konzerthaus.at NYE Poster
Performing tonight alongside some extraordinary musicians for Igudesman & Joo’s NYE show at the Vienna Konzerthaus. I will be performing excerpts from my ‘PyroViolinist’ fireshow as well as some acrobatics and other violin madness. Should be a fun night!

I have been told this is the first time in the 101 year history of the Konzerthaus that there has been a fire performance of this kind so I am very honoured. Huge thanks to the management of the Konzerthaus, Igudesman & Joo and the production team for allowing this to happen.

I have to say that fire performance cannot be done alone. So a special thanks to my duo partner Lisa Chou for being such an amazing fire assistant.

Spiegel Duo takes out Konservatorium Wien ‘Fidelio’ Prize

Thrilled to announce that one of my projects – ‘Spiegel Duo’ (with pianist/multi-instrumentalist Lisa Chou) – has been awarded a Konservatorium Wien ‘Fidelio’ Prize for 2014! Special thanks our donor HFP Steuerberater and congrats to the other competitors and awardees.

Also pleased to report that this was achieved whilst rocking mohawks, neon leggings and Docs and playing a total of eleven instruments between us. Continuing to bring a touch of the circus and cabaret to classical music! 😉

Some footage from the ORF RadioKulturhaus, Vienna where we performed an excerpt of ‘Maninyas’ by Australian composer Ross Edwards as part of the prizewinners concert:

‘The Freestyle Orchestra’ in development in Vienna

Super excited to be working with such amazing, multitalented Vienna-based musicians on my inter-disciplinary chamber orchestra! This project has had many forms, ever since I decided to learn to play violin upside down as a 10 year old. From Sydney Conservatorium days in the early 2000’s to here it has already been an incredible journey and I am so excited for the next phase! Documentary footage to come. 🙂

Strauss’ ‘Metamorphosen’ with Concertino Wien

Very much looking forward to performing Richard Strauss’ ‘Metamorphosen’ for 23 solo strings with Concertino Wien (chamber orchestra of the Wiener Symphoniker) at the Konzerthaus this weekend! Have been wanting to play this piece for quite a while. 🙂

Program also includes Mozart Symphony no.2 and Haydn Cello Concerto in D with soloist Sebastian Bru. Info & tickets here.

Vienna Fire debut at Mosaïque

MosaiqueExcited to be making my Vienna fire debut performing parts of my ‘PyroViolinist’ show alongside some extraordinary singers and instrumentalists for the season opening of the wonderful Mosaïque!

Also includes my ‘Flamekeeper’ roaming stilts act from ‘The Harlequin Court Orchestra‘ and some violin playing too of course… 😉

7. October at brick-5, Vienna.

Doors 6:30, starts 7:30pm. More info and tix here.

Classical Revolution in Vienna!

10446118_10152562966934800_6216042805581589580_oThe Classical Revolution movement, originally started in San Francisco, has made it to Vienna! The organisation aims to put on chamber music performances in unusual settings. Was awesome to join some great musicians (including Vienna chapter instigator Emer Kinsella) for last week’s session at Cafe Weidinger. Tonight 3 June we will be playing in Bruno Keisky Park after the Science Fiction film festival. To stay in the loop on further dates here is the Facebook group.

Recording in Krakow

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 2.06.38 pmGreat time in Krakow with some wonderful musicians I met while playing in Nigel Kennedy’s Orchestra of Life.

Recording tracks beautifully arranged by Alicja Śmietana for a project very dear to our hearts – ‘FRIENDS’ an album of the music of the late, great Polish guitarist Jarek Śmietana to be released in the next few months.

Rite of Spring!

So happy to be joining the amazing Wiener Symphoniker playing Stravinsky’s masterpiece ‘The Rite of Spring’ in the Musikverein Großer Saal, Vienna for the next 3 nights! This has been on my bucket list for a while now…

Program also includes Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Piano Concerto no. 3.

“Carte blanche à Jörg Widmann” at the Musikverein

Back at the Musikverein, Vienna this week, performing some chamber music works of Jörg Widmann on 9 May. Has been a great few days of rehearsals with the composer/clarinettist – always a pleasure to work with a living composer! Some awesome music with some very cool effects. More info and tickets here.

On the road with Concertino Wien

Stoked to have joined the ranks of Concertino Wien (chamber orchestra of the Wiener Symphoniker) for a tour of Germany with oboist Albrecht Mayer (Berlin Philharmoniker). Program included Wolf, Mozart, Haydn & Wolf-Ferrari. What an awesome group of musicians! Packed houses and trailing rave reviews across Germany… 😉

e-Luminate Cambridge

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Wonderful evening last night opening the e-Luminate Festival in Cambridge, UK with the amazing Alicja Śmietana. The festival runs until 23rd Feb and features some stunning light sculptures and installations including an interactive noughts and crosses game on the Guildhall! More info here.

Hello 2014

As always the freelance life yields some diverse and interesting engagements! In the next few months I’ll be appearing on stage with Michael Bublé, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the wonderful violinist Alicja Smietana, Alexey Igudesman and the Max Steiner Orchestra to name a few.

In between, background work is full steam ahead on a variety of other projects and maybe even a trip back home to Oz… More details to come soon!

‘The Carnival’ Hamburg Season

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‘The Carnival’ a circus opera (music & libretto by Chloé Charody, created and directed by Chloé Charody & Sonja Schebeck) is resident at Hamburg’s sublime Fliegende Bauten for October/ November.

What a spectacular cast, couldn’t be happier!

More pics here.

 

St Prex Classics with Nigel Kennedy and Richard Galliano

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 2.19.08 pmSuper excited to be performing at the amazing St Prex Classics festival, Switzerland on 31 Aug & 1 Sept with Nigel Kennedy and Richard Galliano. What a privilege to witness two absolute masters of their craft in collaboration.

Also very humbled that we will be opening the show with my chamber arrangement (for solo violin, oboe, string quintet and piano) of Vaughan-Williams’ ‘The Lark Ascending’!

The incredible venue ‘LUNA’, purpose built for the festival, features a balloon like roof that lights up like a moon looking over St Prex. Some behind-the-scenes pics here.

Chamber music in the Polish mountains…

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Heading to Poland for a special night of chamber music with the amazing Alicja Śmietana & friends in the beautiful Dworek Gościnny in Szczawnica. And we are sharing the bill with one of Poland’s most famous mime-artists!

 

BBC Proms with Nigel Kennedy, members of the Orchestra of Life and Palestine Strings

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 2.22.12 pmHonoured to have been a part of this unique and historic BBC Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 8 August – a never-before-heard rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons featuring jazz, free improv and Arabic-inspired link sections with the very talented members of the Palestine Strings (ages only 13-23!).

Four and five star reviews rolling in from The Independent, The Guardian and The Times among others. Go Team! X

Excerpts from the concert can be seen here.

‘Orchestra of Life’ Strings in Jaworki!

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Following our ‘surprise’ appearance last night performing Czardas with the incredible Nigel Kennedy and his Band at Dworek Gościnny, Szczawnica, the Orchestra of Life Strings take the stage tonight at Muzyczna Owczarnia, Jaworki!

With very special guests Tomasz ‘Kukush’ Kukurba (Kroke) and Nigel Kennedy.

Program includes my arrangement of Vaughan-Williams’ ‘The Lark Ascending’ for solo violin and string orchestra. 🙂

Great vibes, gonna go off!

‘Orchestra of Life’ strings – a very special concert in Krakow

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Honoured to be playing in a very special concert in Krakow on 17 June – ‘Music Inspired by Friendship’.
This concert features members of the original Orchestra of Life strings founded by Nigel Kennedy in 2010, who accompanied him on extensive tours across Germany, UK, Poland and Switzerland.

Program includes: E. Grieg – Holberg’s Suite, A. Vivaldi – Concerto for 4 Violins in b minor RV-580, J.S.Bach – Concerto for Violin and Oboe in d minor BWV 1060 (Alicja Śmietana, Mariusz Pędziałek), A. Vivaldi – Concerto for 2 Violins in A minor RV 522 (Alicja Śmietana, Sonja Schebeck), M. Karłowicz – Serenade for String Orchestra.

Funds raised will go towards medical treatment for the great Polish jazz guitarist and our dear friend Jarek Śmietana. If you are anywhere near Krakow please come along.