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Concerto No. 3

Sarah-Jane Norman

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Of all the works in the classical piano repertory, Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 has perhaps one of the most fearsome reputations: it is a work of cruel and unusual technical difficulty. Feared and made famous through performers such as Joseph Hofmann and David Helfgott, the so-called “Rach 3″ has become darkly mythologised as one of the most difficult, even dangerous, pieces of piano music ever written.

So, what if a group of non-pianists, failed pianists and traumatised former child prodigies were challenged to play it publicly? What if these pianists were not permitted to practice or even study the music beforehand, but required to play entirely by sight-reading?

Berlin-based Australian live artist Sarah-Jane Norman is joined onstage by five other “postvirtuosic” pianists working in shifts to sight-read their way through this mammoth score in a gruelling 12 hour musical experiment. A challenge to the fetish of “greatness” and the heroic discourse of artistic virtuosity, Norman proposes the question: in a culture driven, by the self-devouring pursuit of success, how might we make a space to contemplate the beauty, the humanity and the transformative potential of failure?

Concerto No. 3

Date: 10 May

Location: Melba Hall, The University of Melbourne, The Conservatorium Building (Gate 12), Royal Pde, Parkville

Time: 9am - 9pm

Duration: 12 hrs

Accessibility: Wheelchair Accessible

Notes: This is a durational performance, audiences can come and go as they please throughout the performance.

Ticket Prices: Free

Credits

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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