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Pianist Laura Leon

Matilda Variations: An Homage to Australia's beloved "Waltzing Matilda"

Matilda Variations is a beautifully conceived video exhibition of paintings by the internationally heralded contemporary Australian artist Ian Banksmith in honor of Australia Day 2011. Filmmaker Karen Leon created a dramatic music video that interweaves the stirring solo piano work of the same title by New York composer Steven Rosenhaus with the visionary artwork Ian Banksmith.

A visual/musical 'walkabout,' the video displays Australia's natural splendors and landscapes, as captured by Banksmith's brushstrokes, movement and colors across on canvas, set to Rosenhaus' clever weaving of Australia's beloved "Waltzing Matilda" through an inventive series of classically conceived variations. Subtle references to great composers and their keyboard works include Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin-and a surprise twist of a tango.

Rosenhaus' Matilda Variations, was premiered by Laura Leon at the NY Australian Consulate-General in March 2001, honoring Australia at a joint concert she was invited to give with Melbournian soprano Lesley Pryde. It has been aired on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Classic FM and the country's award-winning public radio station 4MBS.

Film by Karen Leon, Borken Tail Productions, 2011 (
Ian Banksmith. With permission. (
Steven Rosenhaus. With Permission. (

"Waltzing Matilda." Cowan-Patterson.
1936 by Allan & Co./1941 Carl Fischer, Inc. Copyrights renewed. Arranged by permission.
CarlFischer Music (

Matilda Variations by Steven Rosenhaus, recorded at Martin Patrych Memorial Studios, NYC; recording engineer/producer Joseph Patrych, 2010. (