Ashkenazy tribute in oils

LEADING portrait artist Ralph Heimans this week unveiled his latest work at the Sydney Opera House, a portrait of legendary pianist and Sydney Symphony Orchestra chief conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Born in Sydney in 1970, Heimans studied Fine Arts at the University of Sydney and the Julian Ashton Art School.

By the late 1990s he had established himself as one of Australia’s finest portrait painters.

In 2006, he was awarded the official commission for the portrait of Princess Mary of Denmark.

Heimans first approached Ashkenazy a year ago to ask him to sit for the portrait.

“I’m passionate about classical music and have always been a huge fan of Vladimir Ashkenazy’s work,” he explains.

“I wanted the portrait to reveal Ashkenazy’s warmth and humility, as well as an emotional depth that explores a lifetime dedicated to music.”

Ashkenazy was born in the Russian town of Gorky to a Jewish father and began playing the piano at the age of six, showing prodigious talent. He has performed and conducted orchestras around the world.

The portrait of Ashkenazy took three months to complete in oil on canvas. It will be on display at the Sydney Opera House during the Sydney Symphony’s 2011 season.

REPORT: Danny Gocs
PHOTO: Ralph Heimans’ portrait of Vladimir Ashkenazy.