The master and two apprentices

The Theme & Variations Foundation’s main fundraising event took a different direction this year when our ambassador, Alexander Gavrylyuk, conducted a master class with two promising young Sydney student pianists, Jake Cheong and Leanne Jin.

Held in the Theme and Variations Piano Services Willoughby showroom on 27 November, it attracted an audience interested to hear the technical and interpretive skills that divide good performers from great performers.

Both students played Prokofiev, a composer favoured by Alexander in his repertoire and instinctively felt by him on a cultural level. While millions of people have heard Alexander play (always to rave reviews, these days) few would have witnessed his ability as a teacher and communicator. He combined humour, kindness, and a wealth of musical advice to the two students as he commented on their playing, often demonstrating his points with his own playing. It was here that the unspoken difference between ‘on the way’ and ‘arrived’ came through. These two students were leaders among the emerging crop of young Sydney classical pianists, both having won significant recent competitions and awards. While they played their chosen Prokofiev works admirably, the passages Alexander replayed for demonstration came from another dimension. His technique was simply astonishing to say nothing of his powers of interpretation.

We live in a world of achievement ladders, acknowledging the rungs above us and often aspiring to reach them. It was never more clearly demonstrated than in this master class. So many of us in the audience would have loved to play as well as Jake and Leanne. But above them, virtually as high as you can go, sits Alexander Gavrylyuk.

The master and two apprentices2020-03-12T23:11:31+00:00

Michael Brimer talks about music and its creators

The Board of Theme & Variations foundation invites you and your friends to a stimulating series of four evening discussions for lovers of classical music.

One of Australia’s most distinguished pianists and musicologists, Professor Michael Brimer will give a series of four informal talks in September 2019 about the classical composers recently voted by ABC listeners as the most popular. They are Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

The talks will be held at the Theme & Variations showroom in Willoughby on the four Wednesday evenings in September. They will be a fundraiser for the Theme & Variations Foundation which assists talented young Australian pianists who need financial help to achieve their goals.

Those of us who have heard Michael speak know him as a wonderful story teller with a vast knowledge of all forms of music. He illustrates his talks with demonstrations at the piano, the instrument that has taken him to the top of performing, especially in Australia. As a pianist, Michael has performed 25 different piano concertos, two organ concertos and countless solo recitals as well as being an outstanding teacher.

Michael’s talks will not be lectures for students sitting for music exams, but rather for lovers of classical music. They will cover the times, compositional styles and sometimes quirky lives of the famous four composers.

These entertaining talks are a must for anybody who wants to increase their understanding, and therefore enjoyment, of classical music and its composers.



Please join us for this series of four talks. Arrive at 6pm for a cup of tea or coffee and a pastry, and we’ll begin at 6.30pm. Please reserve your place by emailing us with your payment details.

Dates: Wednesday 4,11,18 and 25 September 2019

Time: 6.00pm for 6.30 start. Talks close at 7.45 p.m.

Venue: Theme & Variations Showroom 451 Willoughby Road, Willoughby 2068

Bookings:  $125 per person for the full program over four evenings.

1. Make an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to our bank account:
Amount:                        $125.00 per ticket
Bank:                               Westpac
Account name:            T&V Foundation Limited
BSB:                                 032 199
Account number:        304 680

Please note: It is essential that you include your full name on the deposit so we can track your payment easily. We will send you a receipt when your payment arrives.

Please email this form to the same day you make your EFT payment: –


Name: ________________________________________________________

Email: _________________________________________________________

Phone: ________________________________________________________

Number of tickets:  ____  @ $125.00 each   :    Total $ _____________


2. Mastercard or Visa card:

Please email your details to or call 0409 300 490 to pay over the phone.


The Theme & Variations Foundation Board would like to thank you sincerely for your support.


Michael Brimer talks about music and its creators2020-03-16T00:02:04+00:00

Leanne to play at 2019 Canberra International Music Festival

As part of this year’s Theme & Variations Foundation award, Leanne Jin, one of our two recipients, has been invited to participate in the 2019 Canberra International Music Festival as its 2019 Young Artist.

Leanne’s performances in Canberra:

Thursday May 2, a solo recital at the National Gallery of Australia

Monday May 6, afternoon public masterclass with Russian pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov

For further information and bookings please go to Canberra International Music Festival


Leanne to play at 2019 Canberra International Music Festival2019-02-13T00:30:29+00:00
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