‘Desire’, is a beautiful composition by Hyung-ki Joo, that I performed violin and fire to alongside Markus Marzi Nyman (guitar) during Igudesman & Joo‘s ‘League of X-traordinary Musicians’ show NYE 2014/15. Performing with fire in a major concert hall like the Wiener Konzerthaus is always an honour. I remember being in a state of razor-sharp focus, completely in the moment. There is always a pause to acknowledge respect to the fire before the last extinguish. Full video: https://youtu.be/X07jq5_0geA
International Women’s Day
Extremely grateful to live in this time, place and circumstance where what I can achieve is limited only by my imagination. Thankful to my ancestors and all who fought for such opportunities. Here directing my amazing The Freestyle Orchestra crew in Vienna. Photo captured by the wonderful Stefan Panfili.
We have a huge announcement to make soon!
‘Pigalle’ at the Sydney Festival
Charity Christmas Concert
It’s that time of year again, joining my amazing expat Aussie musicians in Vienna for our annual charity Xmas concert in collaboration with the Australian Embassy in Austria. This year, proceeds will go to the Verein Notruf Beratung für vergewaltigte Frauen und Mädchen, a counseling service for victims of sexual violence – a fantastic cause. See you there at Christ Church Vienna – Jauresgasse 17-19, 1030 from 7pm, 12 Dec.
The Freestyle Orchestra at Esterhazy Winery
In collaboration with The Hot Box Girls International and Opera Moderne, looking forward to presenting “L’Opera Burlesque” with members of The Freestyle Orchestra at the Weingut Esterhazy tonight!
Featuring aerial, acrobatic and fire performance as well as wine tasting – will surely be a fun night! Join us 6 December, 19:30 in the Kalandahaus at Esterhazy Wein!
Vienna and Paris with Nigel Kennedy
Unbelievably excited to be back with Nigel Kennedy and his Orchestra of Life as concertmaster for two very special concerts in Vienna and Paris this week. Program includes numbers from the recent ‘Kennedy meets Gershwin’ CD as well as his new composition ‘The Magician of Lublin’, based on the book of the same name.
27 November, Vienna Konzerthaus, 7:30pm
30 November, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, 8:00pm
London Jazz Festival with JTQ
Stoked to be joining my favourite peeps at the English Session Orchestra on 21 November for the James Taylor Quartet album launch ‘Soundtrack from Electric Black’ at Cadogan Hall as part of the London Jazz Festival!
A night of top music ahead, info and tix here.
‘The Freestyle Orchestra’ at the Vienna International Buskers Festival!
Looking forward to making our Vienna International Buskers Festival debut this Sunday 9 September, 9pm at Spot no. 4! Our new street show featuring all our usual antics- fire, acrobatic, aerial performance combined with a mix of classical, balkan and electroswing. We are especially excited as this is the only time fire performance is allowed on the streets of Vienna!
More info on the festival website here.
A concert at 1900m on top of a mountain? Why not?
It’s happening! The Freestyle Orchestra venture into the Austrian Alps this weekend for ‘ORCHESTER am Berg’ – performing a concert on top of the Riesneralm in Donnersbachwald (1900m high)! Cable cars and instruments and equipment oh my! More information about our mountain mission here.
The Freestyle Orchestra back at Mosaïque
Honoured to be playing with The Freestyle Orchestra at the last Mosaïque for a while.. so join us tomorrow night at Turnhalle im brick-5 for everything from Stravinsky to modern composers – we will be premiering excerpts of Chloé Charody’s ‘Tale of the Firebird’ as well as accompanying the incredible Sonia Anfiloff- Soprano in some Stravinsky children’s songs.
In addition, young dancers from the Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien choreographed by The Forsythe Company member, Esther Balfe, offer a visual homage to Stravinksy’s groundbreaking work with ballet!
This concert brings to a close our mini-marathon of events with The Freestyle Orchestra – 6 different shows in 6 different venues in 6 weeks! So lucky to work with such an amazing and flexible group of awesome musicians!
‘The Freestyle Orchestra’ at the International Storytelling Festival
Beyond excited to take the stage with The Freestyle Orchestra tonight for the first of our music/aerial/fire shows for the International Storytelling Festival Austria at the Schauspielhaus Graz! Over the next 2 days we present an all-Australian program of staged works by Ross Edwards (excerpts from ‘Maninyas’) Chloé Charody (‘Dance of the Firebird’ and ‘Phoenix’ caprice) and Daniel Masmanian (‘fire is mine ears’). So grateful to these amazing composers for all their beautiful support (so important when creating something new!) and for trusting us with their incredible music. Working with living composers rocks!
Our next festival dates:
26 May – Brucknerhaus, Linz
1 June – Museumsquartier, Vienna (open air)
2 June – Passionsspielhaus, Bad Schönau
‘Kennedy Meets Gershwin’ album release
What a great privilege it is to have played on this album with the great Nigel Kennedy and amazing musicians Howard Alden & Rolf Bussalb (guitars), Beata Urbanek-Kalinowska (cello), Tomasz “Insomnia” Kupiec (bass), Alicja Smietana & Sonja Schebeck (violins), David Heath (flutes).
Released today! 🙂
“Bohème Sauvage Vienne” with The Freestyle Orchestra
Cannot wait to take the stage with the Vienna crew of The Freestyle Orchestra at Bohème Sauvage Vienne Nº10 – 5. Mai 2018 – Palais Palffy this Saturday night – putting a Freestyle spin on some 1920’s classics, it is gonna be one hot night (and my first time performing with fire in a Palace)!!
The event also features the amazing Rebecca Greenstein, Anne E Wie and plenty of surprises. Get into your best 20’s style and come on down!
More info and tickets here.
Stegreif Orchestra in Germany
Interesting times in Germany, playing my first project with Stegreif Orchestra – “#freebrahms”. The orchestra plays from memory without a conductor and incorporates free improvisation and staging into their shows. More info here.
Performances this tour:
21 April – Konzerthaus, Berlin (premiere)
22 April – Resonanzraum, Hamburg
26-28 April – Podium Festival, Esslingen
‘Concerts for Vienna’ Airbnb Launch
Stoked to be playing in celebration of Concerts for Vienna‘s Airbnb launch at the gorgeous Salon RAZUMOVSKY this Saturday 24 March! My fellow Aussie, the awesome Kate Louise Oostelbos has curated a program full of musical gems, each a little tribute to Vienna and the culture it supports. More info here.
Back in the studio with Nigel Kennedy
Very special vibes at RAK studios, London this week, recording with Nigel Kennedy for his upcoming album. So honoured to be a part of this project! More to come!
‘The Freestyle Orchestra’ at Mosaïque Vienna!!!
Cannot wait to perform with The Freestyle Orchestra for our Vienna debut at Mosaïque!!! Going carnival with “Phat Tuesday” on February 13th at Brick-5, this varieté-style program celebrates excess in all its forms in a final hurrah before Lent rears its dreary head.
Musically, Chanda VanderHart is throwing together a little bit of everything, from the silky tones of soprano Sarah Marie Kramer and seductive sounds of bass Malte Roesner all the way to numbers including dancers, acrobatics, fire, burlesque, magic, costumes and aerial artists from The Freestyle Orchestra and L’Opera Moderne.
The show is moderated by Mama Burlesque herself, Rebecca Greenstein, so expect the unexpected and a whole lot of fun surprise! Musical numbers about gold, gambling, and love-gone-wrong span classical song from Mozart contemporary Vicente Marin y Soler all the way to modern, electroswing creations and DJ Paul Stadler keeping it hot after hours. It’s going to be a weird, wild party!
I will be performing violin and fire as well as an aerial routine and playing/dancing Roxanne with the amazing Roberto Martinelli. See you there!
Johannesgasse Solisten – Music Connects the World
Looking forward to be returning as concertmaster with Johannesgasse Solisten for this program exploring music from pan-American composers, including four Austrian premieres.
Featuring Attillia Kiyoko Cernitori as cellist/conductor, should be a fun one!
25 January, Antonio Vivaldi Hall, Johannesgasse 8 Vienna.
‘Concerts for Vienna’ Season launch
Stoked to be back at Concerts for Vienna for the 2017/18 season launch ‘Ein Fest der Musik’ on November 26, joining incredible artists Kate Louise Rafferty, Alfredo Ovalles among others in the home to art and history that is the beautiful Salon Razumovsky, Vienna.
‘The Sculptor’s Studio’ premieres at the Australian Circus Festival
“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.
‘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
Looking 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!
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!
‘Hot Box Girls’ Season Finale
Tonight 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’
Representing 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. 🙂
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. :)
* 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
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).
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.
‘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! 🙂
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.
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:
Mosaïque in collaboration with Zirkus Pikard
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!
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.
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)