29.05.2019

Tempo Rubato is bringing live classical music to Brunswick for charity

Words by Anna Rose

Tempo Rubato is the new classical music venue Melbourne didn’t know it needed.

Opening in Brunswick next month, the venue and bar makes a home for a Stuart & Sons grand piano in a unique warehouse space, with plans for an approach to live music that’ll be flexible under the classical banner.

What’s so special about Tempo Rubato is all its profits will go to their partner charity, Piano Project, who provide free piano lessons for children who have immigrated to Australia and who otherwise might not have access to them.

“The venue was inspired by a place in Berlin,” says pianist and venue manager Georgina Lewis. “[Director] Georgina Imberger found a space in Brunswick and it’s gone from there.” The ultimate goal in establishing Tempo Rubato is to be able to support Piano Project, a unique and wonderful idea. “All the proceeds from the bar go to sponsoring piano lessons for kids who’ve recently arrived in Australia,” says Lewis.

Through these piano lessons, Lewis has seen immigrant children develop and create for themselves a sense of belonging and community. “It’s different to normal piano teaching,” she says. “Obviously they don’t have pianos at home so for me the focus is the lesson time.

“The three things I see in them is that they get individual time with an adult, not a family member, investing in them and showing them they’re important, and the confidence they get building a skill. If they master a new piece the smile they have… It’s unlike any other lesson I teach.

“And just the joy. I have one pupil about eight [years old] and he just sprints to the piano room when I collect him. For him, he loves making loud noises.”

Lewis has heard some tragic stories of her pupils, but she establishes friendships through the music, and Tempo Rubato looks to continue to support those developments. The cornerstones of the Tempo Rubato venture are increasing access to classical music for young people and music lovers, fostering a flexible and affordable space for musicians and raising aid and awareness for Piano Project and its students. They’re also striving to create a sense of community for people from all walks of life who can feel a sense of belonging in this incredible space.

At their opening night on Sunday June 2, revered pianist Nicholas Young will perform solo. “He is an incredible pianist,” says Lewis, “and he’s expressed interest in Piano Project from the start. He’s also offered to do a fundraiser recital with us.

“Everyone will be working as volunteers, and all the profits from that concert will go to Piano Project.”

There’s a plethora of interesting works soon to be performed at Tempo Rubato. Also performing in June will be JUO, a cello and piano performing works by Rachmaninoff and Kapustin, as well as Concilium Musicum Wien, a unique quartet which draws its inspiration from Viennese classicism.

Also on the bill next month is ‘Obliquely Wrecked’, a concert performed by Lewis’ own Solstice Trio. “Piano, violin, and cello,” she explains, “We have a couple of extra guest artists in this concert, Xani Kolac and Kyla Matsuura-Miller, and we’re performing contemporary classical works from New York and Melbourne.

“As a trio our goal is to try and champion the works of contemporary female composers – not only female, but we do try and promote the work of women. We’ve commissioned some works, as well.

“It will be the Melbourne premiere of Obliquely Wrecked by New York jazz pianist Pascal LeBoeuf, which combines extended techniques in contemporary music and ‘90s acid house music. We’re demanded to produce sounds on our instruments that fall at the extremities of what’s expected in this context. I even get to spray a compressed air can in the air.” 

Tempo Rubato will be launched at 34 Breese Street, Brunswick on Sunday June 2 at 4pm with a special performance from revered pianist Nicholas Young. Find out more info about Tempo Rubato and get tickets to the opening concert, and to all their other events at their website, temporubato.com.au.