Following on from the success of the last Concert for Life in 2015, Sydney’s leading classical musicians come together again to give a concert to raise funds for suicide prevention, this time the focus being on Indigenous suicide prevention. 
Suicide in Indigenous communities has reached a crisis point and the rates of youth suicide are particularly shocking – the percentage of youth suicides that are Indigenous rose from 10% in 1991 to a staggering 80% in 2012, and an alarming 40% of all child deaths in Indigenous communities are by suicide. All profits from the concert will go toward the Dr Tracy Westerman Aboriginal Psychology Scolarship Program. Delivered in partnership with WA’s Curtin University, the program aims to train more Indigenous psychologists to deliver best-practice care in high-risk communities.

The concert

When: Tuesday September 10th 2019 at 8pm
Where: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Tickets: $125 (full), $99 (concessions) available at
Please consider making a donation here: (All donations over $2 are tax deductible)

The performers

Orchestra for Life (members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Opera Australia Orchestra)
Sydney Children’s Choir, Sam Allchurch, conductor
Simon Tedeschi, piano
Roger Benedict, conductor
Guest speakers: Dr Tracy Westerman

Program to include

Fauré: Masques et Bergamasques Suite
Fauré: Pavane
Sydney Children’s Choir segment
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Ravel: Pavane
Bizet: Carmen Suite no 1 

The first Concert for Life in 2015 brought musicians from three different orchestras together to raise money for suicide prevention. I was touched by the incredible generosity of spirit that permeated not only the concert but the whole project, and pleased that we made a significant amount of money and helped raise awareness of the urgent work that needs to be done to reduce the impact suicide has on individuals, families and the wider community. But when I saw the shocking statistics on Indigenous suicide, I realised that this had to be the focus of our attention for our second Concert for Life. We simply can’t let this appalling situation continue, and I believe that the fabulous program we are supporting will have a tangible effect on Indigenous suicide prevention, if given adequate funding and support.

Statement from Roger Benedict:

Roger Benedict

Roger Benedict

Conductor and viola player Roger Benedict is Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Fellowship Program and Chief Conductor at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

He is a frequent guest conductor with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and also appears as a conductor with other orchestras in the region including the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and in the UK with the Southbank Sinfonia. A devoted orchestral trainer, he has coached the European Union Youth Orchestra since 2000, and is a frequent conductor of Australian Youth Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra (UK) programs.

As a viola soloist he has appeared with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Ulster Orchestra in the UK as well as the Sydney Symphony, Canberra Symphony, New Zealand Symphony and Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa (Japan). Roger has released four critically acclaimed solo recordings on the Melba and ABC Classics labels.

Roger believes strongly that music should be used as a tool to help effect social change and initiated and conducted the highly successful first Concert for Life in 2015 which raised nearly $40,000 for suicide prevention.

Simon Tedeschi

Simon Tedeschi

Simon Tedeschi is one of Australia’s most renowned classical pianists, recipient of prizes such as Symphony Australia’s Young Performer of the Year Award, the Legacy Award from the Creativity Foundation (USA), first prize in the Keyboard division of the Royal Overseas League Competition (UK), and a Centenary of Federation Medal. He has performed in major concert halls and for festivals throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia, and for world leaders including former US President George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama.

Acclaimed by respected critics and peers as “True greatness” (Sydney Morning Herald), Simon Tedeschi performed his first Mozart piano concerto in the Sydney Opera House at age nine. Based in the USA for several years courtesy of the American Australian Association and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, in 2009 Tedeschi performed in Carnegie Hall, won the ‘New York Young Jewish Pianist Award’ and performed as soloist with the Colorado, Fort Worth and Illinois Symphony Orchestras (USA).

Tedeschi performs as soloist with all the major Australian orchestras as well as Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (New Zealand). Recent highlights include performances of Rachmaninov’s piano concerto no.4 (broadcast by Foxtel Arts), and Tedeschi’s family orchestral show, ‘Who needs a conductor, anyway?’ with the Sydney Symphony; Canberra International Music Festival, three tours to China with Sydney Opera House’s show Meeting Mozart (CDP) and to the United Arab Emirates including the Abu Dhabi International Arts Festival; regional touring for Musica Viva Australia; a national tour and recording with Australian theatre icon and ‘National Living Treasure’ John Bell AO OBE of ‘Enoch Arden’ to His Majesty’s Theatre Perth, Adelaide Festival Centre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Sydney Opera House and in 2018 of their program, ‘Bright Star’ to UKARIA Cultural Centre, Riverside Theatres, the Art Gallery of NSW and more.
In the current season, Tedeschi returns twice to the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for their Season Opening Gala concert and Adelaide Festival Centre’s DreamBIG Festival for performances of his family show, Who Needs A Conductor, Anyway? 2019 heralds the premiere of a third collaboration with John Bell called ‘Echoes of the Jazz Age’ with performances at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre ahead of a national tour in 2020; further seasons of Meeting Mozart at Sydney Opera House, performances of Bright Star with John Bell (including for Musica Viva) and concerts at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Concourse (Sydney), with Deutsche Grammophon-signed artists the Orava Quartet, and more.

Tedeschi’s wide-ranging discography includes R. Strauss and Schumann on Enoch Arden (with John Bell AO OBE), Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Gershwin and Me, Gershwin: Take Two, and Tender Earth, and concerti by Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Mozart, for ABC Classics/Universal Music Australia. ABC Classics released Tedeschi’s newest album, with violist Roger Benedict: ‘A Winter’s Tale’ – with the music of Schubert and Schumann in 2018 with a new solo album of piano works by Schubert due for 2019 release.

Simon is Artistic Patron of Fine Music 102.5FM, and Ambassador for the Australian Children’s Music Foundation, Blue Mountains Concert Society, Sydney Eisteddfod and Ryde Eisteddfod.

Dr Tracy Westerman

Dr Tracy Westerman is a proud Njamal woman. She grew up in the remote Pilbara town of Tom Price, completing most of high school via distance education. Although she was passionate about studying psychology, quiteearly in her undergraduate studies she became determined to develop specialist, evidence-based practices that are more appropriate to the cultural needs and life circumstances of Indigenous people, especially those living in rural and remote areas. She has developed unique psychological tests to identify those at most risk of mental illness and suicide. In the absence of any government funding, Dr Westerman founded Indigenous Psychological Services in 1998 to progress her goals for improving Indigenous mental health. She has trained more than 25,000 clinicians in culturally appropriate psychological approaches and delivered her suicide intervention programs into remote Aboriginal communities throughout Australia. In 2003, Dr Westerman became the first Aboriginal person to complete a combined Master/PhD in Clinical Psychology, undertaking her studies at Curtin University. In 2018, the University awarded her its highest alumni honour, the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of her dedicated service over more than 20 years to reducing the burden of mental illness among Indigenous people. She was also inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame in 2018. Her message is that “anything is possible. She wants to stand as an example to females, to Indigenous people, to those from remote and disadvantaged backgrounds that anything is possible”

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