Australian pianist and performance artist
Julia Hastings is a Melbourne-based pianist who defies stereotypes by being equally at home on stage as an actor. But the unique fusion of Julia, the musician and actor and Julia, the theatre creator, writer and dancer is what transports an audience to a place where the ordinary becomes the extraordinary.
Julia’s extensive piano studies, culminating with the Professional Performance Program at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), have equipped the synthesis of her multi-disciplinary talents in pushing the boundaries of classical music performance and enabling her goal of guiding audiences through a narrative, musical world where stories matter. Her first work, Fame, Fortune & Lies: The Life and Music of Eileen Joyce, combining live music performance and drama has been performed to critical acclaim nationally. Julia’s passion for telling a story has now led to her current research interest in the ability of live classical music performance to develop character and narrative in contemporary music theatre.
Known for expressive pianism and virtuosity, Julia is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, collaborative artist and educator. Julia’s solo performances have been praised as “breathtaking,” “delicious,” and “simply wonderful” by reviewers, while her collaborative work has been recognised for its empathy, intelligence and synchronistic partnering. Collaborative partners have included pianists, Lisa Moore, Kathryn Stott and Penelope Thwaites as well as singers, Sara Macliver and Christopher Watson. Orchestral stints have seen Julia performing with the UK-based Aurora Orchestra as well as under the baton of Australian conductors, such as Brett Dean and Simone Young.
As a musician of the 21st century, Julia combines her performance work with that of music educator in which she tutors in tertiary music subjects and directs an Instrumental Chamber Music Program at Trinity College, University of Melbourne as well as teaching piano. She is also a staff pianist at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne. Through her work as an educator, Julia inspires her students to embrace and energetically explore the narrative qualities of music which have informed her own musical practice.
Julia’s love of the theatre and dance is the product of years of participation in community and university theatre as an actor, dancer and director in tandem with an Actors Residency at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 2016. Dance played an important part during Julia’s school years, studying the Cecchetti method of classical ballet for over eleven years while simultaneously dabbling in other styles such as jazz, tap, salsa and Latin. These skills and the multifarious methods of story-telling inherent in theatre and dance are now being harnessed by Julia as she challenges the traditional relationship between the pianist and the piano and delivers classical music as an integral component of a story.