Montville pianist on national stage

By Sonia Isaacs

PROVING it is never too late to reignite a passion for creative pursuits, Montville resident Ian Lucas has won The Sydney Piano Lovers Competition 2022.

Celebrating Australian and New Zealand amateur pianists over the age of 30, this is now the second time Mr Lucas has won this prestigious event, having previously been awarded co-winner at the inaugural 2020 competition. His achievement is made even more impressive as he only returned to playing piano later in life after a break of 30 years.

The retired commercial pilot said that while he was a very keen piano student early in life, it wasn’t until his 50’s that he rediscovered his passion for playing the piano, which he said was a nice return to music.

“It was just nice to return to it after all those years, which I think you never really stop loving it or thinking about it – but you can’t always do it due to other circumstances or being too busy with life,” said Mr Lucas.

He described himself as a music lover of many years, and credits the patient tutorage of his mother, his first piano teacher, before moving into private lessons and achieving to a reasonably high level, gaining a place at the Tasmanian Conservatorium which he left at the age of 19 to pursue a successful aviation career.

He said that even though he stopped playing, he continued to avidly follow the music scene and competitive events such as the Sydney International Piano Competition since the late 1970s, and that piano has always held a deep passion and interest for him.

Describing how he felt on discovering that he had won this years’ competition against a strong field of over 50 entries, Mr Lucas said he felt extremely flattered.

“I have to say I was far more pleased than I thought I would be as I had put the entry in early thinking this was the best I could do as I had a lot going on at the time, and was a little underprepared. I put the entry in without any real expectations to win, so when they told me I’d won it was a lovely surprise!”

Ian’s winning repertoire consisted of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Op. 64/2 No.6, Liszt’s Sonetto 104 del Petrarca and Prokofiev’s March from the Opera Love of Three Oranges. His win will see him perform live before one of the preliminary rounds at the prestigious 2023 Sydney International Piano Competition in July 2023 in front of audiences and the competition’s international jury.

Music is in the genes

They say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Ian Lucas’s son Sam Lucas has also been paving his own successful path as an internationally acclaimed cellist with an impressive high calibre performance schedule, made even more remarkable by his young age.

The 26-year-old has been recently invited to tour Europe with the Australian World Orchestra under the baton of renowned maestro Zubin Mehta. He will perform with the orchestra in Glasgow at the Edinburgh Festival and the Royal Albert Hall in September.

Based in Dusseldorf, Germany for the last four years, the former Montville Primary School student is now taking the world stage by storm.