Simon Tedeschi first performed in the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House aged nine, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19, K.459.

Growing up on Sydney’s North Shore, he returned repeatedly throughout his childhood and professional career as he emerged as one of Australia’s finest pianists.

Now 41, he says he knows “every inch of the place” and that “over the decades it has become a friend”.

Returning there this Sunday afternoon, during the last of three shows with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra dedicated to New York Jazz Age classics, that’s certainly how it felt.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Simon-Tedeschi. Photo © Craig Abercrombie.

It helps, of course, that he’s so familiar with the place. He was one of the first soloists invited to test the acoustics following the reopening of the Concert Hall in July 2022 after two years of renovations. And this wasn’t the first time he’s performed Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin’s era-defining masterpiece that headlined Sunday’s show. In fact, he says it’s the piece he’s “probably played more than any other”. He’s recorded it, too, in 2012.