C2 Opening Gala – Compassion

  • Wednesday, 1 May 2024

    7:30 pm

  • Snow Concert Hall

    Canberra Grammar School Campus, Red Hill, ACT

  • In Association with

  • With Support From

After ten years, Lior’s Compassion is finally coming to Canberra.

Lior’s Compassion finally comes to Canberra. Since its premiere in 2013, this ground breaking work has won over critics and audiences alike, earning the 2014 ARIA award for Best Classical Album. Based on ancient Hebrew and Arabic texts, Compassion brings together Lior’s ravishing voice and refined collaboration with Nigel Westlake to offer a life-affirming statement of shared humanity for a divided world.

Setting the scene are three musical giants from different corners of the world in a Festival exclusive: Persian tar player Hamed Sadeghi, acclaimed Belgian pianist Bram De Looze, and our very own William Barton. Not to be missed.


William Barton with Hamed Sadeghi and Bram De Looze

— interval —

Compassion – Lior Attar and Nigel Westlake


Lior, voice
William Barton, didgeridoo
Bram De Looze, piano
Hamed Sadeghi, tar
Véronique Serret, violin
Victoria Bihun, violin
Florian Peelman, viola
Freya Schack-Arnott, cello
Ben Ward, double bass
Claire Edwardes, percussion
Ronan Apcar, piano
Roland Peelman, director

This concert is supported by DOMA Hotels

Lior is supported by Dr. John Moses and Prof. Ingrid Moses AO
Hamed Sadeghi is supported by Wendy and Stewart May
Florian Peelman is supported by Peronelle and Jim Windeyer
Claire Edwardes is supported by Elspeth and Graham Humphries
Roland Peelman is supported by Anna and Bob Prosser

ARTIST Learn more about the artist

Artist Roland Peelman AM, Artistic Director


His encyclopaedic understanding of performing and visual arts and his theatrical instinct place him in constant demand as a musician of flair and imagination.” – Antony Jeffrey, Many Faces of Inspiration.

At the helm of the Festival since 2015 is Artistic Director Roland Peelman, an acclaimed musician of great versatility who has established a reputation as one of Australia’s most innovative musical directors.

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Artist Lior, singer/songwriter


Lior is one of Australia’s most treasured singer/songwriters renowned for his beautiful voice and songs that radiate truth and sincerity. He burst on to the Australian music scene in 2005 with his debut album ‘Autumn Flow’ which has become one of the most successful independent debut releases in Australian music history.

Lior has since released a further six albums and has toured extensively both in Australia and internationally. He is a multi ARIA award winner as well as an APRA Screen Award winner for his song-writing work for film and television.

Official bio at https://www.lior.com.au/bio



Artist Bram De Looze, piano


Belgian pianist Bram De Looze is one of those musicians who is always on the lookout for new options, detours and possibilities to expand his art. His solo career began in a surprising way with ‘Piano e forte‘ (2016), a project for which he approached historical instruments from a contemporary perspective. The switch to Chris Maene’s Straight Strung Grand Piano (created by Daniel Barenboim) for ‘Switch The Stream‘ (2018) indicated a renewed search for movement, evolution and introspection. With ‘Colour Talk‘ (2020), he continued this solo trajectory on an already revolutionary piano model, again seeking innovation from within.

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Artist Véronique Serret, violin


Véronique Serret is a highly versatile violinist, vocalist and composer, effortlessly bridging the divide between classical and contemporary art forms. In demand as a leader, chamber musician, mentor and collaborative artist, Véronique is known for her inclusive sound world, willingness to experiment across genres and her work on the six string violin. She is dedicated to the creation of new music and the exploration of sound through diverse collaborations.

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Artist Claire Edwardes, percussion


In 2022 Claire Edwardes was awarded the 2022 Medal of the Order of Australia for her commitment to Australian music. She is Australia’s ‘sorceress of percussion’ (City News, Canberra) and the only Australian to win the ‘APRA Art Music Luminary Award’ four times, Claire leaps between her role as Ensemble Offspring’s Artistic Director (Australia’s new music ensemble and winners of the 2022 Classical Next Innovation Award with Ngarra-Burria) and concerto performances with Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House and Radio Chamber Orchestra at the Concertgebouw.

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Artist Victoria Bihun, violin


Victoria Bihun grew up in Benalla, Victoria. She began playing the violin at the age of five and from the age of nine was making the 400km round trip to Melbourne every Saturday morning to participate in Melbourne Youth Music programs.

She completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, studying with Mark Mogilevski. As a student she won many university prizes and was concertmaster with both the Melbourne Youth Orchestra and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Symphony Orchestra, as well as appearing as Guest Concertmaster with Victorian Opera.

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Artist William Barton - composer, instrumentalist and vocalist


William Barton is Australia’s leading didgeridoo player as well as composer, instrumentalist and vocalist. William started learning the instrument from his first learnt the uncle, Arthur Peterson, an elder of the Wannyi, Lardil and Kalkadunga people and was working from an early age with traditional dance groups and fusion/rock jazz bands, orchestras, string quartets, and mixed ensembles. Throughout his diverse career he has forged a path in the classical musical world, from the London and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras to historic events at Westminster Abbey for Commonwealth Day 2019, at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli and for the Beijing Olympics. His awards include Winner of Best Original Score for a Mainstage Production at the 2018 Sydney Theatre Awards and Winner of Best Classical Album with an ARIA for Birdsong At Dusk in 2012. In 2021 he was the recipient of the prestigious Don Banks Music Award from the Australia Council and in 2022 he was announced as Australian of the Year for Queensland for 2023. With his prodigious musicality and building on his Kalkadunga heritage, William has vastly expanded the horizons of the didgeridoo.

Artist Florian Peelman, viola


Florian has played the violin since the age of five, and after absorbing the sound of gamelan in Indonesia, started formal training in Helsinki. At the age of 14 he continued his studies at Chethams School of Music in Manchester. Returning to his Belgian roots at the age of 18, he enrolled at the Antwerp Conservatorium and switched to the viola. He completed his Masters under Walter Küssner at the world leading ‘Hans Eisler’ Hochschule für Musik Berlin achieving the highest distinction and has since continued to work there as Assistant Professor.

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Artist Hamed Sadeghi, tar player and composer


Hamed Sadeghi is an Iranian-born tar player and composer based on Gadigal land (Sydney). Trained as a Persian classical musician in Tehran, Hamed’s haunting compositions give you a taste of his cherished culture.

He has performed at the most notable music festivals and in prestigious concert halls in Australia and around the world. He has toured nationally and internationally with his band Eishan Ensemble, the improvisation trio Vazesh and with Persian maestro Shahram Nazeri amongst others.

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Artist Freya Schack-Arnott, cello


Freya Schack-Arnott (DK/AUS) is a contemporary cellist and nyckelharpist who enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, improviser, composer and curator; ranging from contemporary classical repertoire to experimental, electronics, folk and popular art forms.

Schack-Arnott regularly performs with Australia’s leading new music ensembles, including ELISION Ensemble and Ensemble Offspring.

As an improviser and composer, Schack-Arnott’s current projects include: ‘FSA/BW’ (experimental string duo with bassist Benjamin Ward), ’Runa Cara’ (Scando/Irish folk duo with Bonnie Stewart/aka Bonniesongs),‘Cloud Maker’(cross-cultural collaboration with 4 female musicians). 

Freya is also co-founder and curator of the regular ‘Opus Now’ music series, an ongoing project exploring relationships between the music of today and classical chamber-works.