Melbourne-based composer and pianist Phillip Gelbach is a new name in the classical and jazz music scenes. A student of world-renowned pianist Vladimir Viardo and Ukranian composer Leonid Hrabovsky, he is becoming known for his chamber works and sensitive piano playing.
Phillip has been invited to perform at a wide variety of venues, ranging from the Dag Hammerskold Hall at the United Nations to the Birdland and Blue Note Jazz clubs.
At age 16, Phillip was the big band jazz pianist at the First Abkhazian Jazz Festival, then at 17 was a member of the "The Hilda Blues Band", who won the first prize at the National Blues Competition in Riga, Latvia.
Over the years Phillip accompanied Neil Sedaka, Grace Garland, Kate Sullivan, and Alexander Rozenbaum, and has played in jazz bands with Sol Yaged, John Goldsby, Peter Washington, Scott Lambie and Ray Jensen. He has also performed solo jazz piano at the Umbria International Jazz Festival, and has performed for Woody Allen, Peter Ustinov, Mikhail Barishnikov and many others.
His music has been performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Silo String Quartet, "The Filter Kingz" with James Avatar, Chronic Electronic Orchestra, the Ambient Waves Experience, Atlanta Coogan and Elena Polevaya, and has composed for Kristina Lukas' "Aria for Soprano", featured at the 2011 Cannes International Film Festival.
Current projects include recording his new aria for soprano and harpsichord, to be performed by Australian soprano Merlyn Quafe with Roger Heagney at the harpsichord.
From August 21 Phillip begins his 2012 US and European tour. He will perform a program of his own compositions and piano pieces by Bach, Schubert, Schumann and Franck, in Dallas, Austin, New York, and in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Lee is a Russian-born Israeli-Australian author, writing teacher and mentor based in Melbourne. She published three fiction books in Hebrew in Israel, but since 2002 she has been writing exclusively in English and publishing short stories, creative nonfiction and poetry widely in Australia, Scotland, UK, USA and Canada. Lee is the recipient of various literary awards, including the Australian Council grant and the Varuna Eric Dark Flagship Fellowship. She was involved in judging several writing competitions, and served as a member of the Varuna Fellowship Selection panel. She organised several festival and conference panels, including the Australian Overload Poetry Festival and the International NonFiction Now conference.Lee blogs monthly about the writing process on the Writers Victoria website.
Lee’s recently completed memoir The Dangerous Bride about non-monogamy in love and geography will be out in October 2014 with MUP.
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“Chooka Parker is an exceptionally talented pianist who never took a piano lesson and astounded the Australia’s Got Talent judges and audience when he debuted on their stage in 2011, making his song up on-the-spot. Chooka grew up in rural Victoria, living without TV, internet or music, instead drawing from his natural surroundings and being a very creative, outdoor lad. He developed a curiosity about Classical music when given a Mozart CD at 12 and when he was 13 years old, learned Clarinet, but decided to take up piano one and a half years later. Having been discovered by the AGT team, Chooka’s audition went viral overnight and he became instantly recognisable. Finishing as a Finalist on the show, he went on to independently release his debut album, No Worries! a month later (again almost all of it improvised). He then performed around Australia over the next 2 years in many states and venues. Etihad Stadium with a crowd of over 20,000 was one of those venues. He then won the People’s Choice Award at MusicOz Awards in May 2012, also performing in the prestigious Sydney Opera House! The following month he was invited to again perform at the next season of Australia’s Got Talent, but this time as Special Guest Performer. Releasing his 2nd CD My Jewel in November 2013, Chooka toured Queensland extensively and has had great reviews of this latest CD. With his music being improvised, he has a special element that is missing in much of today’s music. His music has a therapeutic effect and draws you from deep within. Being such a down-to-Earth bloke, Chooka is very popular amongst people and he has inspired countless people to play piano and pick up their dreams to continue with them. His latest work is a single with lyrics and he is proving to be quite a good poet and songwriter. Sign up on the email list and follow Chooka’s journey along this musical pathway.” Thanks!