I am delighted to introduce a new column to the magazine called Sound Waves, replacing our monthly dip into the ABC Classic CD series 1000 Years of Classical Music. Sound Waves will take you behind the scenes of an ABC project each month. In this issue, producer Matthew Lorenzon lifts the lid on ABC Classic’s new video series How a Piano Works, which enlists the help of people like piano technician Ara Vartoukian, cognitive scientist Jennifer MacRitchie, and concert pianist Simon Tedeschi to help key us in to the secrets and joys of tickling the ivories. In future issues we will visit the recording studio, outdoor broadcasts, and music festivals, with Australian musicians and ABC presenters sharing their experiences and insights.

Next month we are adding another new column in which a musician will tell us about their instrument. Erin Helyard will lead the way with a piece about harpsichords. As a prelude to that, Janet Wilson has written a feature about Golden Age string instruments in this issue. She visits luthier Roberto Cavagnoli in his workshop in Cremona where he is currently making beautiful copies of the Australian String Quartet’s Guadagnini instruments. She also talks to a number of Australian musicians who are in the happy position of having prized, period string instruments to play.

In other features, Angus McPherson examines the history of Shostakovich’s huge, visceral Fourth Symphony with the help of Shostakovich expert Mark Wigglesworth, dance specialist Deborah Jones introduces us to the ballet Sylvia with its gorgeous music by Léo Delibes, which The Australian Ballet is performing for the first time in a new version by Stanton Welch, and Clive Paget talks to Asher Fisch about the many faces of Robert Schumann. Meanwhile, I was incredibly excited to talk to Broadway legend, John Kander, as the musical Chicago, which he wrote with his long-time collaborator Fred Ebb, returns to Australia. Happy reading!

Jo Litson

The features

The Thrill of the Hunt

Stanton Welch’s new version of Sylvia throws a welcome spotlight on the work’s composer, the gifted French melodist Léo Delibes. As The Australian Ballet prepares to perform it for the first time, Deborah Jones explores the history of the work and its score, which Tchaikovsky adored.

Shostakovich Four

With Stalin bearing down on him, Shostakovich withdrew his monumental Fourth Symphony at the very last minute, consigning it to a drawer for the next 25 years. English conductor Mark Wigglesworth tells Angus McPherson why the score was so dangerous, and how the composer's music changed forever.

Good Vibrations

Luthiers have been making top-notch string instruments in Italy for centuries. Janet Wilson visits Roberto Cavagnoli in his Cremona studio where he is making copies of the Australian String Quartet’s original Guadagninis. She also asks some of The Australian musicians who play 'Golden Age' strings, what makes these highly prized (and pricey) instruments so special?

Double Act

The 19th century's most romantic of Romantics was never short of an alter ego to embody his complex musical ideas. Ahead of performances of his ever-popular Piano Concerto, Clive Paget talks to Asher Fisch and asks will the real composer please stand up?

John Kander

The legendary Broadway composer is now 92. As Chicago returns to dazzle Australian audiences, he talks to Jo Litson about writing the show with his long-time collaborator, the late Fred Ebb, and why he hasn't watched the television series Fosse/Verdon.

Dalia Stasevska

The 33-year-old Finnish conductor is quickly making her mark on the podium. She tells Albert Ehrnrooth about pawning her violin to pay for masterclasses, stalking Jorma panel, and her new gig in the UK.

The Regulars


Art Music Awards honour Richard Gill

What I'm Listening To

Flautist Sally Walker

Five Questions for...

Soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin

Around the world

Terfel's tortured Tsar astounds London

Guest Column

Commissioning music may be easier than you think

Guy Noble's Soapbox

Overcoming fear of the unknown can lead to love

Opera Column

Eva-Maria Westbroek on keeping in character

Did you hear about...

Karl Muck's decidedly bad war

Backstage with...

Violinist Skye McIntosh

World Premiere

Matthew Hindson harnesses the soprano sax

Greta Bradman

Screens off, music on for a good night's sleep

Composer of the Month

Polish one-off Witold Lutosławski

Musical Journey

The benefits of Copenhagen to Berlin by bike

Sound Waves

How a Piano works: Behind the scenes of ABC Classic's new video series


This month's round-up of everything worth experiencing in dance, theatre, visual art and film

Broadcast Guide

The best of classical music and arts across ABC and independent stations this month

Digital & Cinema

The best of classical music and arts in Australian cinemas, and what's available online this month

My Music

Gallery owner Philip Bacon

Recording of the month

Special offer

The 30th and final Huntington Estate Music Festival takes place in Mudgee, November 20 – 24. To celebrate, Limelight subscribers have the chance to win a double pass to the Finale Weekend, valued at $1,900. The winner and their guest will enjoy four world-class concerts, two artist ‘in conversations’, two dinners, two lunches, canapés and award-winning wines from Huntington Estate.

The Finale Weekend begins on the evening of Friday November 22 and ends after a lazy lunch in the sun on Sunday November 24. The winner and their guest will enjoy performances by pianists Ian Munro, Alexander Gavrylyuk and Aura Go, violist Maxim Rysanov, harpist Isabelle Moretti and tenor Andrew Goodwin, and ensembles Trio Marvin, Arcadia Winds and the Goldner and Australian String Quartets.

Five runners-up will receive a copy of Classic 100: Composer from ABC Classic.

For your chance to win this prize, simply tell us who your favourite composer is and why when you subscribe, give or renew a Limelight subscription.

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