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with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Lior, Nigel Westlake, Emma Donovan, Paul Grabowsky AO, Billie Tumarkin and Alex Burkoy.

Eight years after the critically acclaimed Melbourne debut of their award-winning song cycle Compassion, composer Nigel Westlake and singer-songwriter Lior will reunite with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for A Night of Compassion at Melbourne Town Hall on 29 September.

The beautiful seven-movement song cycle was created after the tragic death of Westlake’s son. Using the strengths of their individual artistry, Westlake and Lior express the wisdom of compassion through a meeting of contemporary and classical music told in song and symphony.

The work draws on ancient Hebrew and Arabic poems, proverbs and texts that provide insights into a world struggling with divisiveness and how the main tenets of compassion can provide relief to this tension.

Conducted by Westlake, A Night of Compassion will also feature Emma Donovan, Paul Grabowsky, Billie Tumarkin and Alex Burkoy in a program of original music and culturally significant works that address themes of compassion and healing.

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The evening will also bring together two of the most powerful forces in Australian music – pianist and MSO Composer in Residence Paul Grabowsky AO, and acclaimed Indigenous soul vocalist Emma Donovan. Grabowsky will accompany Donovan performing in language as well as a selection of songs from their most recent country and gospel collaboration, The Old Rugged Cross.

After wowing audiences at FOJAM’s most recent performance of When Women Speak of War, classically trained, Ukrainian-Jewish-Australian duo, singer Billie Tumarkin and prodigious, multi-instrumentalist Alex Burkoy, will also perform.

As the Festival Patron of FOJAM and Compassion’s co-creator and lead performer, Lior welcomed the opportunity to present the original work along with pieces from fellow musicians.

“Though Compassion draws from the languages and cultural richness of two worlds, the overriding theme of the work is the wisdom and universality of compassion,” says Lior.

“Having worked with FOJAM for quite some time, I am aware of the cultural depth and diversity they bring to their events. Working in collaboration with them on this show will facilitate the presentation of Compassion in a unique, richly diverse and inclusive setting.”

“To be joined by other artists on the night performing in different languages and drawing from other cultures gives this concert an even more expansive outlook and is a large part of the reason why I am so looking forward to teaming up with the MSO and FOJAM for A Night of Compassion”.

The world premiere concert of Compassion at the Sydney Opera House was recorded and released on ABC, spending more than 10 weeks at #1 on the ARIA Classical Charts and receiving the 2014 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album.

A Night of Compassion
Thursday 29 September 2022 - 7.30pm
Melbourne Town Hall

Tickets on sale Wednesday 22 June at 10am.

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