37 year-old composer Larry Sitsky is depicted in this 1971 Portia Geach Prize winning portrait by self-taught artist, Sister Mary Brady. He is a pianist, scholar and a founding member of the Canberra School of Music at the Australian National University. As a major composer, his compositions cover a wide genre from: opera, theatre and orchestral scores; as well as chamber, solo and vocal music compositions.
Larry (aka) Lazar Sitsky was born to Russian-Jewish émigré parents, on 10 September, 1934, in Tianjin, China. He studied piano from an early age and gave his first public concert at the age of nine. Along with his family; he emigrated to Sydney in 1951. Some of his work includes:
- Operas – The Fall of the House of Usher (1965), Lenz, (1970), and Fiery Tales, (1975) after Chaucer and Boccaccio, Voices in Limbo, (1977), The Golem, (1980), De Profundis (1982) and Three scenes from Aboriginal life
- Ballet – Sinfonia for Ten Players (“The Dark Refuge”) (1964)
- Solo Instrument – Improvisation and Cadenza for solo viola (1964)
- Orchestral – Symphony in Four Movements (premiered by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra under Robert Bailey, 23 May 2001)
- Vocal – Incidental music to Faust for solo piano and three sopranos (1996), Seven Zen Songs for voice and viola (2005), De Profundis (1982)
The Artist – MARY BRADY (1922-2014)
Champion golfer and Dominican sister, Mary Brady was born in Tamworth on December 17, 1922. From an early age she was always fascinated by art and although she never belonged to an art school she learned her art by reading every “how to” art book she could acquire from the travelling library that came up to Tamworth on the train from the Public Library of New South Wales. Later on, through her golf friends, she met Mother Margaret Mary Lyons from the Dominican Convent, in Tamworth, who was a painter, art teacher and eventually became Brady’s art mentor.
In 1967, Brady became a Dominican Sister and and found that she could still pursue her love of painting; although her golfing opportunities had ended. Sadly, Mary Brady died in 2014.
- Mary Brady the artist became a three-time winner of the Portia Geach Memorial Award for Portraiture; finalist in the Archibald Prize; a regular finalist in the Sulman and Wynne Prize lists; as well as being the recipient of many regional art prizes.
This portrait is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery Canberra; provided courtesy by gift from Larry and his wife, Magda Sitsky, in 2010. (Oil on composition board – 120 x 90 cm)