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Sarah-Jane Norman: Concerto No 3

Concerto No 3

Of all the works in the classical piano repertory, Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 has perhaps one of the most fearsome reputations: it is a work of cruel and unusual technical difficulty. Feared and made famous through performers such as Joseph Hofmann and David Helfgott, the so0called Rach 3 has become darkly mythologised as one of the most difficult, even dangerous, pieces of piano music ever written.


So, what if a group of non-pianists, failed pianists and traumatised former child prodigies were challenged to play it publicly, entirely by sight-reading? Sarah-Jane Norman is joined by five other “post-virtuosic”pianists working in shifts to sight-read their way through this mammoth score in a gruelling 12-hour musical experiment.


Sarah Jane Norman is a cross-disciplinary artist and writer, orginally from Sydney, Austrailia. Her practice is grounded in performance. As such, her core interest is in the body: the body as a spectacle of truth and a theatre of fantasy; a siphon of personal and collective memory; where histories, narratives, desires and discourses converge and collapse. Sarah-Jane has presented her work at In Between Time Festival, Forest Fringe, and Performance Space, Sydney.

Fierce Says: At Neewxt Wave festival 2012, in Melbourne, I encountered Sarah Jane Norman’s Bone Library. I am still the guardian of the word ‘dhirrara’, (meaning necklace), from that project. Concerto No 3 is a new durational work that Fierce has co-commissioned with New Wave. We are happy to be presenting it at Birmingham Conservatoire, examining the idea of the “post-virtuosic”. This is a deceptively simple piece, a gesture that starts from a personal place and resonates widely.