Using the strengths of their individual artistry, Nigel Westlake & Lior have joined forces to express the wisdom of compassion through a combination of music and ancient writings.The work was premiered and recorded with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in late 2013 at the Sydney Opera House. Lior and Nigel Westlake went on to perform ‘Compassion’ with the major state orchestras around Australia. A recording of ‘Compassion’ with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was released in 2014 and spent over 10 weeks at #1 on the ARIA Classical Charts as well as the Classical/Crossover Charts. The album went on to win the ARIA in 2014. for ‘Best Classical Album’
In 2016, Lior premiered ‘Compassion’ in the US with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, performing over two nights at the Long Center, Austin Texas. The work was received with standing ovations and rave reviews - http://theartoftheconductor.com/news/4944-2/. Lior also won the Austin Table Critics’ Award for ‘Best Symphonic Performance of 2015-16 alongside the Austin Symphony for this performance.
Lior with Nigel Westlake and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
In Daily, Adelaide News
"Compassion was a superb, life-changing event for many reasons. We live in an era (and perhaps we always have) when people all over the planet need to show more understanding of the tragic circumstances others find themselves in rather than being judgemental. Lior's thoughtful lyrics expressed in a beautiful voice, combined with Westlake's powerful, vibrant orchestrations, will remain with me and I hope that I can heed their call."
"Compassion is a pungently expressive work that expounds a more personal vision of humanity. 5 out 5 stars."
Sydney Morning Herald
"The music is sophisticated and original, and the words are full of wisdom, this work is all heart".
The texts are largely a collection of poems,proverbs and songs drawn from the rich worlds of Judaism and Islam that give us an insight into such wisdom. Their similarities
are immense and their universality is undeniable. Far from the misguided commentaries that have so often steered humanity away from the true enactment of compassion, these texts affirm that attaining a greater sense of compassion is an ultimate goal, and letting it guide our actions is the ultimate wisdom.
“The research that led me to the texts threaded through ‘Compassion’ took me from conversations with religious leaders to linguists who coached me through the finer details of Arabic pronunciation and the subtleties of the Arabic texts. As a fluent Hebrew speaker, I initially thought that singing texts in Arabic would feel foreign and disingenuous, yet to my surprise, many of the words I encountered were common to both languages. In learning these texts, it became clear to me that these two languages share a common origin.
Just as experience often validates the existence of a well-worn cliché, it is difficult to escape the analogy of two brothers starting from a common source and branching out to become what we now know as Hebrew and Arabic. In time, I would come to learn not only of the similarities in language, but in the very essence of the messages
embodied throughout these proverbs and poems.”
From Nigel Westlake
“The catalyst for Compassion was a single watershed moment: my first Lior concert, the inaugural fundraiser for the foundation our family formed in memory of my son Eli. At dusk, Lior began to weave his magic upon the crowd. It was a poignant occasion planned to coincide with the one year anniversary of Eli’s death, and the music held a very special meaning for all.
Lior’s music had been part of our family playlist for years. ‘Autumn Flow’, the album that rocketed Lior to prominence in 2005, was among the last music I shared with my son Eli before his death. As Lior came back on stage for an encore, little did I realise that his final offering for the night would hold the germ of an idea that would become
a life-changing journey. Without accompaniment, Lior embraced the plaintive strains of the ancient Hebrew hymn of compassion ‘Avinu Malkeinu’. The power and spirituality of the song struck a deep resonance amongst us all. It was following that concert, Lior and I discussed working on a symphonic arrangement.