Elizabeth Anderson > biographical notes

Elizabeth Anderson

A highlight of Elizabeth Anderson's career was a recent appearance at the Old Bailey.

It was not, however, to face charges but rather to musically and dramatically represent the charges faced by John Grant, a convict who brought the first harpsichord to Australia. The presentation for the City of London Festival of her music-theatre work The Man who shot a Lawyer in the Buttock -- researched, written and directed by Anderson -- was the first musical event ever to be staged at the Old Bailey. British actor Samuel West played the lead role, reading excerpts from Grant's colourful diaries, which were interspersed with short harpsichord pieces from Grant's library. The centrepiece of the programme was Australian composer Ron Nagorcka's newly-commissioned work for harpsichord, didjeridu and Australian bush sounds.

In April 2003, Anderson's music theatre programme Mr Bach Comes to Town delighted children at the Southern Grampians Promenade of Sacred Music in Hamilton. Old Johann Sebastian returned from the dead to introduce children to his favourite instruments; the organ and the harpsichord. He also introduced his son Karl, who played the flute. The programme concluded with the children singing the theme to the Goldberg Variations, accompanied by excerpts from Bach's 14 Canons played on organ, harpsichord and flute.

Programmes such as these are motivated by Anderson's drive to communicate her enthusiasm for the harpsichord as an expressive instrument to a wider audience. She loves to teach, and as well as her weekly teaching at The University of Melbourne, she lectures and performs at other universities and music schools throughout Australia. Most recently, in January 2003, she received a return invitation to address the Victorian Music Teachers' Association Summer School in Melbourne, with a series of lecture-recitals discussing the performance and teaching of baroque repertoire on the piano.

In the past few years, Anderson has become known for her concerto performances, for crossover, and for performances of Bach's Goldberg Variations.

In July 2002 she appeared as soloist in Bach's d minor Concerto with the Koszalin Symphony Orchestra in Poland. She has given many performances of Bach's concertos as well as the major concertos of the 20th century (Poulenc, Martin, DeFalla) with the Australian Baroque Ensemble, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Philharmonic, the State Orchestra of Victoria, the Bach Festival Orchestra (Perth) and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. Her recording of DeFalla's Harpsichord Concerto on the Naxos label, released in 1998, won an Editor's Choice listing in Gramaphone Magazine.

In 1996 her CD of Bach's monumental Goldberg Variations received critical acclaim in the Australian press. The CD won a Listener's Choice award from Soundscapes magazine, and appeared in The Age newspaper's top 10 new CDs for that year. She went on to perform the Goldbergs in SchloŖ Friedrichsfeld, Berlin, the Carouge Spring Festival, Geneva, The SorÝ International Music Festival, Denmark, the Vienna Bach Week, the Melbourne Bach Week, the Castlemaine State Festival and in concert series in Hamburg, Limburg, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle.

In the crossover department, Anderson's CD entitled Bizarre or baRock was a best-seller on the Move label for 1997. This programme, which plays on the multiple meanings of the word Baroque offers a varied palette, from well-known Baroque pieces, through 20th century masterpieces like Ligetiís Hungarian Rock, to Gershwin, blues and the Beatles. The programme was given standing ovations in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Nagoya and Osaka and was well received at the Adelaide Festival.

Anderson lives in Melbourne with husband, Douglas Lawrence, with whom she regularly gives 4-hands organ recitals, and son Jacob.

Elizabeth Anderson maintains a busy performing schedule, enjoys teaching, and is a regular guest lecturer and performer at universities and music schools throughout Australia.

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