Sonja Schebeck

Violin Concerto no. 1 in D major, Op. 19 (1917)

2nd and 3rd Movements - Sergei Prokofiev


Entranced by the violin at one of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s baby proms, Sonja began studying the Suzuki method when she was three. She graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium in 2009 and is currently is studying in Vienna with Professor Florian Zwiauer (1st Konzertmeister, Wiener Symphoniker). Since 2010, Sonja has performed across Europe as a member of Nigel Kennedy’s Orchestra of Life and the Nigel Kennedy Quintet. She has special interests in new music, twentieth-century Russian music (particularly Sergei Prokofiev) and the circus art of fire performance. She works closely with Australian composer, Chloé Charody, and has premiered many of her compositions, including as guest solo violinist with the Dutch National Ballet for the opera-ballet Magdalene.  They co-direct Charody Productions (founded 2010) with a focus on fusing new classical music with circus. Their current project, Charody’s circus-opera The Carnival, appeared at the Melbourne Fringe Festival and on London’s West End in 2011 with tours of Australia and Europe/UK planned in 2012 and beyond.

Favourite Concerto? 

Prokofiev's Violin Concerto no. 1, though I have a suspicion that a new Concerto for Violin, Fire and Orchestra being written for me at the moment by Chloé Charody is going to come a very close second! Also Shostakovich's Violin Concerto no. 1 is awesome.

Career Highlight?

I feel very fortunate that a huge number of variables (including health, hard work, amazing teachers, mentors & colleagues, support of family & friends) have come together and enabled me to make a career in music.

What inspired you to choose this piece?

It is my favourite concerto. I identify very strongly with it, maybe in part because of my Russian background. The melodies are lyrical but not too sentimental and mischief is never far below the surface. I just feel like I can be totally myself when playing it, like what I want to express and what is written are in parallel.

What should the audience listen out for?

Prokofiev's very Russian, very dry wit contrasted with his beautiful lyricism, and also the vast palette of orchestral colours on show.

How has technology changed your relationship to making and listening to music?   

Everything from being able to attend meetings and rehearsals via Skype to being able to research, listen to and communicate with other artists has inspired and helped me form some of my most enduring partnerships and collaborations.

For more info