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Pianist Laura Leon

Australia's Waltzing Matilda is Back with Matilda Variations

Australias Waltzing Matilda is Back with Matilda Variations
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                                            Australia’s beloved Waltzing Matilda is Back

with the rerecording of the one-of-a-kind solo piano work


Matilda Variations!

Matilda Variations was just rereleased as a CD single, following its October 2010 rerecording. The song’s timeless sentiment and its unending appeal, along with this special piano work, was the inspiration for the new recording--a fresh take on the heart and soul of Waltzing Matilda.

Back in December 2000, I had commissioned New York composer Steven Rosenhaus to write a solo piano work based on Waltzing Matilda in tribute to Australia for a performance I was invited to give in March 2001 at the New York Australian Consulate-General.  What came forth--was Matilda Variations. It was an honor to premiere it at the Consulate, and since then, it has been a privilege to perform it for audiences near and far.

Steven Rosenhaus-who, within his broad compositional output, has composed several works based on folk songs and dances of countries--cleverly weaves Waltzing Matilda through an inventive series of classically-conceived variations, all the while holding steadfast to the timeless sentiment of the song and the spirit of Australia. He takes the song on a musical journey, with a cascade of subtly delightful references to a roster of composers that includes Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, in settings that range from a waltz to a chorale, to a completely unexpected twist of a tango.

The cover art design is by the noted cartoonist and illustrator Karen Leon, featuring the photo an Australian ceramic cockatoo--kindly lent from the collection of Dr. Peter Green, Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University--alongside the Rosenhaus score on the Steinway, which I took informally during a recording session. Karen Leon is acclaimed for Sgt. Maximus and Company, her acclaimed cartoon strip which positively reflects on those who serve, featuring humorous exploration of today's military (

In 2009, the original recording was requested for the the Waltzing Matilda Archive collection in the Australian National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra. This rerecording joins the original.

”Who’ll come a – waltzing Matilda with me?”

painting by Ian Banksmith 'Earth Lines #5 #5003 oil on canvas 2005