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“A banquet of three masterpieces” is how Central Coast Conservatorium of Music patron and violinist Charmian Gadd describes the upcoming Great Sonatas for Cello and Piano concert on 7 April at the Gosford conservatorium. 

Charmian has invited her longtime friends and two of Australia’s leading chamber musicians – cellist Georg Pedersen and pianist Phillip Shovk – to the Central Coast to perform the afternoon fundraising concert of cello and piano sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy and Shostakovich in the Conservatorium’s refurbished 70-seater Robert Knox Hall. 

The program includes Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 69 in A Major, Shostakovich’s Sonata inD minor Opus 40 and Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting students at Central Coast Conservatorium. 

“These are three of my favourite pieces and will make a great programme for our traditional celebration of Georg’s birthday,” said Charmian. “Gratitude to our friends Georg and Phillip for their talent and time in furthering music education.”

“The sonata repertoire for cello and piano is rich and varied, featuring the two instruments as equal partners,” said Charmian. “Beethoven returned to this combination of instruments several times with sonatas and variations. This middle period sonata shows a composer at the height of his powers, a happy, sunny piece.”

“The Shostakovich is profound and moving, full of colour and imagination, very entertaining. The Debussy is a concise and brilliant masterpiece, also colourful and cheeky, just plain fun,” said Charmian, who also regularly plays host to the musicians and their talented students for impromptu musical soirees in her Copacabana home. 

“Our two players are great favourites who have endeared themselves over decades in the Central Coast for festivals, masterclasses, formal and spontaneous performances. Georg has brought us some of his outstanding students, to our utter delight. Phillip, one of Australia’s finest pianists is happy to accompany them or play a great Schubert sonata, join in a Brahms quintet-whatever! It promises to be a happy afternoon.”

When not performing, teaching or playing music together, the three friends enjoy spending time together at Charmian’s Central Coast home. “ Both musicians will stay with us in Copacabana. Georg is an avid reader and can often be seen with a  book – philosophy, science, science-fiction, diet and health. He retreats to one of our quiet corners. With his wife, Julia, they prepare vegan food and take command of the kitchen. 

“Phillip loves the garden and brings me presents from his garden  – a beautiful rose or a little bunch of flowers to grace the dining table. He can be seen sitting quietly on the deck listening to the butcher birds.

“Both are wine lovers and our after-concert winder-downer dinners are – well, yes, I’m looking forward.”

  • What: Charmian & Friends presents Phillip Shovk and Georg Pedersen’s Great Sonatas for Cello and Piano
  • When: Sunday 7 April, 2.30pm
  • Where: Robert Knox Hall, Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, 45 Mann Street, Gosford
  • Tickets: