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Matt Keegan – Vienna Dreaming

Thu 22 Apr

An ethereal tribute to history and courage.

Vienna Dreaming is an elegant suite of electro-acoustic music composed by Matt Keegan. One of Sydney’s most in demand saxophonists, Matt Keegan was commissioned to compose this music to commemorate his great grandfather, Heini Portnoj (1895 – 1984).

Heini grew up in the great music city of Vienna, Austria. It was here he enjoyed a burgeoning career as pianist and composer before his world changed forever with World War II. After fleeing Austria, the family eventually ended up as refugees in Australia’s Tatura internment camp. At the conclusion of the war, the family was released and Heini went on to have a successful career as a pianist, accompanist and operatic singing coach in Australia.

Featuring star Violinist Veronique Serret (Sydney Symphony, Opera Australia, Sydney Dance Company) and backed by some of Australia’s finest young improvisers, this concert is a truly unique experience not to be missed!

A note about the venue:
Please note that while we are operating in accordance with the NSW Public Health order, and at reduced capacities, The Music Lounge is a smaller, more intimate venue, and the audience is seated close together.

A word from the composer…

“This project has provided me an important opportunity to indulge my love of composing and fully engage my skills as an arranger. Vienna Dreaming is written in the style of program music. I worked from a story board of Heini’s life and began sketching ideas to accompany that timeline. I ultimately decided to focus on the period in his life as a young adult leading up to and including his escape from Vienna. This must have been an incredibly shocking and life changing time. I composed the music from an imagined perspective of my Great Grandfather in private contemplation day dreaming about the key events during this period of his life. My sonic palette deliberately combined acoustic and electronic instruments to create an other-worldly, dream like atmosphere. This ethereal sound realm has been created to evoke general feelings and imagery rather than seeking to faithfully recreate specific sounds of the past.

I also made a point to work with some younger musicians for a change of style, sound and inspiration. We workshopped the concept and material for a long time before I committed to the days of recording. Once recorded and edited, I subsequently arranged all the additional woodwind and synth parts and began filling out the orchestrations in a series of overdubs. I used the single note piano to represent Heini himself. The last parts added were the saxophone and piano lead lines and solos.”


Matt Keegan Alto clarinet + baritone saxophone
Ben Hauptman Electric guitar
Véronique Serret Violin
Freyja Garbett Keyboards
Brendan Clarke Jr. Bass
Miles Thomas Drums

We are committed to delivering safe & enjoyable performing arts experiences.

Our venues and events are operating under COVID Safety measures in accordance with NSW Health guidelines. For more details, visit

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