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Schiff, Avital, Chen, Benedetti & Tafelmusik among 'Musica Viva' 2018 highlights / Sydney Morning Herald

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One of the greatest living pianists, Sir Andras Schiff, returns to Australia after more than two decades next year as the highlight of one of the most ambitious seasons in years for Musica Viva. Schiff, especially noted as a Bach specialist, will play a gala recital in Melbourne and Sydney, with an attractive but different program ranging from Bach to Brahms in each city in October, according to the just-released 2018 season for Australia's specialist chamber music group. The star power in the subscription season is also high, with violinists Nicola Benedetti and Ray Chen, pianist Joyce Yang, clarinettist Sabine Meyer and mandolin player Avi Avital.

Avital and the Giocoso String Quartet, who won the Musica Viva and audience prizes at the 2015 Melbourne International Chamber Music Festival, visit in April, with a program including a new work written for the unusual combination by Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin. Canadian group Tafelmusik, touring for the third time in May, combine precision playing with video in a tribute to Bach and his world, followed in July by Joyce Yang, who won a silver medal as the youngest contestant at the 12th Van Cliburn competition. Australian-raised virtuoso Ray Chen tours in July, the acclaimed Borodin Quartet from Russia returns in September, and violinist Benedetti joins cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk in their new piano trio in November.

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