The Australian composer and pianist Larry Sitsky was born on 10 September 1934 in Tianjin, China, to Russian-Jewish émigrés who left China for Australia during the rule of Chairman Mao. Sitsky showed great promise in music from an early age, with gifts including perfect pitch, and as a pianist he gave his first public concert at the age of nine. He won scholarships to the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, studying with Winifred Burston and Alexander Sverjensky, and to San Francisco, where he studied at the conservatory with Egon Petri.
Returning to Australia, he worked at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and was a founding member of the Canberra School of Music, where he held various appointments. A Myer Foundation award enabled him to research the music of Ferruccio Busoni, one outcome of which was the book Busoni and the Piano. Other areas of research have included Rubinstein, twentieth century avant-garde music, repressed Russian avant-garde music and Australian piano music from the twentieth century.
Sitsky's Russian heritage and studies in China, Australia and the USA put him in a unique position in the worlds of composition and piano performance, and he has deliberately made things difficult for himself as a composer by redefining his style many times. His music has been recorded on many labels, including ABC Classics, Jade CDs, Move Records and Tall Poppies. His many awards include becoming a Member of the Order of Australia in 2000 for services to music as a composer, performer, scholar and teacher.
A selection of M&V articles about Larry Sitsky
CD Spotlight. Creative Fire - Larry Sitsky's 'The Way of the Seeker', heard by Gordon Rumson. '... an outstanding artistic achievement ...'
Dimensions of Night - Gordon Rumson previews a new work for piano by Larry Sitsky
CD Spotlight. Profound Commitment - Jenny Lin recovers buried historical treasure, appreciated by Gordon Rumson
Profile - Magic and mystery. A half world away and a century later, the influence of Busoni is firmly planted in Australia: The music of Larry Sitsky, by Gordon Rumson