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Keyboard concert an Australian first

Wednesday, 25 September 2019


The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) will hold a unique concert with seven keyboard instruments from across history on stage at the same time.

In an Australian first, WAAPA students and staff will perform on seven stringed keyboard instruments.

Marvels and Curiosities will have two performances on Saturday, 28 September, at 3.00pm and 7.30pm, in WAAPA’s Richard Gill Auditorium.

“A concert like this has never been mounted before in Australia at any tertiary music institution,” says WAAPA Professor Geoffrey Lancaster AM. “It is completely unique and groundbreaking to showcase such a wide variety of keyboards.”

Staff and students will play instruments from WAAPA’s Founding Pianos collection, which comprises more than 160 historical keyboards from the 18th century to the modern day.

The Founding Pianos collection has received international coverage because of its wide inclusion of exceptionally rare and, in some instances, unique stringed keyboard instruments. Included in the collection is the First Fleet Piano, believed to be the first piano to have arrived in Australia aboard the First Fleet in 1788.

This concert marks the first public performance on WAAPA’s newly-acquired replica clavichord made by Joris Potvlieghe of Belgium, widely regarded as the greatest clavichord maker in the world.

In addition to the clavichord, audiences will hear music performed on WAAPA's exceptional harpsichord, world-class 18th century replica Walter fortepiano, a Clementi square piano from 1815, a Bechstein grand from 1898 – currently on loan from Christ Church, Claremont – a Fazioli grand piano and an electric piano by Fender Rhodes.

This astonishing array of keyboards will take the audience on a musical journey through history with works ranging from Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach, Mendelssohn, Liszt and Elgar, to Scriabin, Sitsky and jazz.

“WAAPA is very proud to be showcasing our extraordinary collection of historical keyboards and it’s a coming of age for Australia to hear such a variety of instruments within a single concert.”

“In time, more replicas will be acquired, and many of the historical instruments that are in our unique collection will be restored to concert-ready condition.”

“So this updates the music lovers of Perth, and gives them the first opportunity to hear what we have now achieved as educators, performing artists and scholars.”

Marvels and Curiosties will be a concert to fire the imagination, move the heart and delight the ear.

The concert comes as WAAPA announces a $100,000 scholarship opportunity in historical keyboard performance.

The Simon Lee Foundation Scholarship will enable a gifted and committed student commencing an ECU Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance (Instrumental) to study all facets of historical keyboard performance.

In addition to studying a common core of history and theory, the scholarship recipient will follow a tailored performance-based curriculum in fortepiano.

The scholarship is four years in duration, with each year being worth $20,000. A further $20,000 is allocated in the final two years,enabling the student to travel internationally and access enhanced educational opportunities.

For more information on the scholarship, please email

For all venue and performance details, please visit the Marvels and Curiosities performance web page.


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