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A Night of Compassion

Acclaimed composer Nigel Westlake, singer-songwriter Lior, FOJAM and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are joining forces for one night only.
By Sarah Templeton
September 13, 2022
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By Sarah Templeton
September 13, 2022
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Loss, compassion, healing — these are all themes set to move audiences at the Melbourne Town Hall this month when several tours de force of the Australian classical music industry combine to bring us A Night of Compassion.

Eight years after Australian composer Nigel Westlake and singer-songwriter Lior released their groundbreaking contemporary-meets-classical album Compassion, they're reuniting for a return to the stage. This time, they'll be accompanied by Melbourne's Symphony Orchestra for a night of musical extravagance not to be missed.

You may have been lucky enough to see Compassion live the first time around in 2014: the seven-song cycle was a sensation, spending a cool ten weeks at #1 on the ARIA classical charts upon its release and even receiving the 2014 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album.

Inspired by the tragic death of Westlake's son in 2008, Compassion was a means of healing for the acclaimed composer, who you may also know as the musical mind behind the scores for Babe and Miss Potter. After seeing Lior perform in Hebrew at a fundraiser event in his son's memory, the pair collaborated to create a musical selection drawing on ancient Hebrew and Arabic poems, proverbs and texts. The theme of the album was how compassion can provide relief in a world struggling with divisiveness — a concept that seems more pertinent now than ever.

Paul Grabowsky and Emma Donovan

Whether you're a long-standing fan or this is your first classical foray, this one-night-only show on Thursday, September 29 is set to be one to remember. Included in the lineup is MSO composer-in-residence Paul Grabowsky AO and acclaimed Indigenous soul vocalist Emma Donovan, who'll be performing in language as the pair share a selection of songs from their most recent country and gospel collaboration, The Old Rugged Cross. Also set to perform is a Ukrainian-Jewish-Australian duo, singer Billie Tumarkin and multi-instrumentalist Alex Burkoy.

Billie Tumarkin by Grace Hunder

Brought to you by the Festival of Jewish Arts and Music (FOJAM) and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO), A Night of Compassion is one for your spring calendar — just maybe bring some tissues.

Tickets to A Night of Compassion can be purchased here.

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