BRILLIANT REFLECTION: Famous concert pianist David Helfgott rehearsing before his performance at the Brolga Theatre.
BRILLIANT REFLECTION: Famous concert pianist David Helfgott rehearsing before his performance at the Brolga Theatre. Robyne Cuerel

Helfgott a delight on the piano

WHEN he enfolds Chronicle photographer Robyne Cuerel and me in tight hugs before absentmindedly wondering where the piano is, I know this is not going to be an ordinary interview.

The famous pianist David Helfgott rushes ahead with the Brolga Theatre's production co-ordinator Darryl Weir beside him, turning once to tell us to catch up.

Helfgott, a lover of swimming, cats, chess, music and reading, has performed throughout Australia and the world since the movie Shine was released in 1996, recounting his sometimes tragic, often inspiring, life story.

We walk onto the stage and after a few more hugs and a bemused smile from his wife, Gillian, he makes his way to the grand piano at the centre of the stage.

He tells us he must practise and then comes the moment we have been waiting for - the first soft notes of music as Helfgott begins to play.

Robyne asks him to perform his favourite piece and he starts playing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3.

But at the end of the performance he smiles and wryly tells her that a father can have no favourites.



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