Martenitsa 30th Anniversary Retrospective – Live

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Martenitsa 30th Anniversary Retrospective – Live

Venue Riverside Theatre
Dates 06 March 2021
Category Live Event

Riverside Theatres presents
In association with Mara Music Presents
Featuring Mara! Band

Celebrating 30 years of performing, recording and broadcasting their unique choral sound, Sydney’s all female choir Martenitsa will perform a retrospective concert tracing three decades of thrilling performances around Australia and overseas.

Martenitsa 30th Anniversary Retrospective features an all-star line-up including the angelic voice of Bulgarian soloist Silvia Entcheva, formerly of the famous Bulgarian choir ‘Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares’, who has performed with Martenitsa for 22 of their 30 year history, plus the virtuosic playing of jazz royalty Sandy Evans, Paul Cutlan and Lloyd Swanton and world music icons Llew and Mara Kiek of the Mara! band.

Martenitsa will showcase gems picked from their earliest Bulgarian traditional repertoire composed by some of Bulgaria’s finest composers, newer works composed especially for them by Australian composers and highlights from their two acclaimed original musical suites – ‘Sezoni’ and ‘Tra Parole e Silenzio  – composed by and performed with Mara!.

These two ground-breaking suites feature texts by Bulgarian/Australian poet Stefan Kozuharov and Italian poet Eduardo Di Giovanni, and have been performed to audiences in the poets’ home countries – Bulgaria (2005) and Italy (2015).

Please Note:
Tickets to this event are sold to 75% of capacity. All Riverside patrons will be seated in line with current NSW Public Health guidelines, allowing patrons to be seated alongside each other. If you have any questions and would like to discuss this with a member of our team, please contact our Box Office staff on 02 8839 3399 or email

Book tickets on this page for the live, in person performance at Riverside Theatres. If you’re looking for the Digital Show click here.

Please be advised that there is a lockout for this performance and all latecomers are allowed into the theatre at approrpriate breaks between songs.

*Please contact Box Office directly for group bookings of 8 or more, email or call 8839 3399.

This performance is part of Riverside Theatres Digital Concert Series and will be livestreamed on our YouTube channel.  Audience members may appear on camera, please advise our Box Office if you do not wish to be filmed.

Riverside Theatres is registered with the NSW Government as a COVID Safe venue. Our COVID Safe plan was developed in line with federal and state government health guidelines, and following consultation with Live Performance Australia, other NSW venues, and various government bodies, on enhanced health, hygiene and safety measures. These measures include: reduced audience capacity; social distancing; wearing face masks; mandatory Service NSW QR code registration check in; extra cleaning; increased sanitisation of high-touch surfaces; the provision of hand sanitiser, anti-bacterial wipes and hand washing facilities throughout the venue; traffic management plans to alleviate congestion in public spaces; and dedicated COVID Safe Hygiene Marshals.

Please review our Patron Safety Information before you visit us at Riverside.

It is also important that if you are unwell you stay home, we have updated our ticket conditions and our Box Office team are available to talk through your exchange and refund options. You can contact the Box Office on 02 8839 3399 or email

Thank you for keeping our community safe.


PAUL CUTLAN Multi-instrumentalist, Composer Paul Cutlan’s uniquely expressive voice as a multi-instrumentalist and composer embraces jazz, classical and world music influences. His String Project has recently released its second album and remains an important vehicle for Cutlan’s synergy of composition and improvisation. He also features on recent releases by Chris Cody, Sam Gill and Steve Arié. Cutlan was a member of the Australian Art Orchestra for 15 years and continues as a member of MARA! after 20 years. His career has taken him to major venues and festivals in around twenty countries. His creative versatility has seen him in demand for theatrical productions by Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company, as well as numerous stage musicals. Cutlan has performed with Tasmanian and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

SANDY EVANS Saxophonist, Composer Sandy Evans is an internationally renowned saxophonist and composer with a passion for improvisation and new music. She has played with and written for some of the most important groups in Australian jazz since the early 1980s and has toured extensively in Australia, Europe, Canada and Asia. Sandy was recently inducted into the Australian Jazz Bell Awards Hall of Fame and has been awarded an Australia Council Fellowship, a Churchill Fellowship, an OAM, ART Music Awards for performance of the year (Jazz and improvised Music 2020), Excellence in Jazz and three ARIA Awards. Sandy leads the Sandy Evans Trio and Sextet, and co-led Clarion Fracture Zone and GEST8. She is a member of Mara!, The catholics, the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO), Ten Part Invention, austraLYSIS, Friends of Kim Sanders, Waratah, Andrew Robson’s Tallis project, Ben Walsh’s Orkestra of the Underground and SNAP. She has performed with many leading jazz musicians including Andrea Keller, Paul Grabowsky, Silke Eberhard, Ingrid Jensen, Judy Bailey, Han Bennink and Terri Lyne Carrington. Sandy has a keen interest in Indian classical music and collaborates with Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani, Sarangan Sriranganathan and Bobby Singh. Sandy is an experienced teacher and inaugurated a Jazz Improvisation Course for Young Women run annually by SIMA. Sandy is a Lecturer in Music at UNSW.

LLIEW KIEK Plucked strings, Composer Llew is best known for his work with internationally acclaimed world music ensemble “Mara!”, with whom he has toured in 23 countries since 1984, and recorded 8 albums, 2 of which have won ARIA awards. An extensive history can be found at Llew co-directs the Bulgarian style choir Martenitsa with Mara Kiek. He is also a member of several Sydney based world music ensembles. Llew has produced around 50 CDs for Australian world music, early music and classical artists, and has performed on as many more – 7 have been ARIA award finalists. He has been musical director, composer or co-director for companies such as Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, One Extra Company, Legs on the Wall, Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre, Sean Parker and Australian Theatre of the Deaf. Llew has composed works for Mara! band, Mara!Martenitsa ensemble, the Marais Project, Jeannie Lewis, S.A Theatre Co, Meryl Tankard ADT and Universal Pictures. His motion picture musical direction credits include “Babe -Pig in the City”, “Passion” and the IMAX “Equus”. He has recorded for many documentaries for ABC and SBS, and cinema recording sessions include “Three Dollars”, “An Unfinished Sky”, “The December Boys”, and “Wog Boy 2”. Llew’s commercial recording session clients range from Bell Shakespeare Company to Kellogg’s to the King of Jordan. Llew teaches guitar for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Open Academy, runs the World Music Ensemble there and is undertaking a Doctor of Musical Arts (composition).

MARA KIEK Voice & Tapan, Composer Founder, co-director and conductor of conductor Martenitsa Choir Mara has trained and nurtured the women of Martenitsa for the past 30 years to produce their uniquely arresting sound.Mara is also the founder and co-director of ARIA award winning Mara! ensemble which has toured to 23 countries and recorded 8 albums (including two ARIA winners and two final nominees). Her roles in the Australian music scene vary from co-founder/director of a cappella groups – Girls in Your Town, Humming Birds and trio Zora; guest tutor for choirs in Australia & overseas including Gondwana Voices and Sydney Children’s Choir; musical director of dance theatre productions Songs with Mara – Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre (eight seasons, including European tour); Pearl – collaborative work by Meryl Tankard, Regis Lansac, Mara Kiek & Michael Askill; This Show is about People – Shaun Parker Project; Homeland with Legs on the Wall, Mara! Ensemble & Martenitsa Choir (Sydney Olympics, Brisbane Festival, Berlin Poesiefestival); founding member of acclaimed medieval ensemble Sinfonye – winners of Brugge Early Music Festival’s Jury Prize; tutor Bulgarian Voices and World Music Ensembles UNSW; and over 30 years performing for Musica Viva In Schools with Mara!, Girls In Your Town and Humming Birds, touring throughout Australia, Singapore, Brunei & Hong Kong.

LLOYD SWANSTON Double Bass Known as ‘the boss’ in jazz circles, Lloyd Swanton is famous for his work with Australian cult band ‘The Necks’. He is a three-time winner of Best Bassist in the Australian Jazz and Blues Awards, and has notched up three ARIA Award nominations his own band, ‘The catholics’. Touring in around 40 countries, Lloyd has played with The Necks, The catholics, Dynamic Hepnotics, The Benders, Clarion Fracture Zone, Mara!, Sydney Symphony, Vince Jones,Alpha Centauri Ensemble, the Mighty Reapers, the Seymour Group, Tim Finn, Stephen Cummings and Wendy Matthews, Bernie McGann Trio and Quartet. Lloyd appears on over ninety albums, including several ARIA Award winners, and has produced four ARIA Award winners by Bernie McGann. Over eighty of his compositions or co-compositions appear on record.

SILVIA ENTCHEVA Soloist Martenitsa Choir Born in Bulgaria, Silvia performed with the Grammy Award winning Bulgarian choir “Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares”, touring to most countries in Europe, and recording CD’s, Videos, and music for movies, concerts for Radio and TV.  Since migrating to Australia in 1994, Silvia has performed as a soloist, with Martenitsa choir, as well as establishing her own ensembles Silvia Entcheva Trio and Trio Nadpiavka, and Trio Pippero, and performed at many festivals around Australia. In 1998, she performed in Nicholas Lens’ requium “Flamma Flamma” with Mara Kiek’s Trio Zora, for the opening ceremony of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. Silvia has recorded as a soloist on “Sezoni” with Mara! and Martenitsa Choir (nominated for an ARIA award), David Hobson and David Hirschfelder “In this room”, and released two albums of her own (“The Donkey Drank Wine”- Silvia Entcheva Trio, and solo album “If I were a bird”).Silvia is featured soloist on Mara!/Martenitsa CDs “Tra Parole e Silenzio” and soon to be released “Za Vas ot Nas”.Recent performance highlights include Mara! Band 35th Anniversary concert (2019) and Sydney Sacred Music Festival -Triglav.Silvia’s theatre credits include “In our name” (Company B), “This Show is about People” (Shaun Parker Project).

“…gorgeous vocal harmonies…with unstoppable force in answer to Mara Kiek’s gripping lead vocal.” –  John Shand SMH 2011

“…(The “Martenitsa”) CD … celebrates the peerless beauty of the human voice. Anyone who has fallen under the spell of Trio Bulgarka or La Mystère des Voix Bulgares will find this record as exciting and uplifting as the originals. Mara Kiek has created one of this country’s truly great a capella ensembles.”  –  Bruce Elder Sydney Morning Herald 1993

“…to hear (the Martenitsa Choir)… singing the Eastern influenced harmonies was like being confronted with a chorus of angels…”  –  Lyndon Barber Sydney Morning Herald 1992

“…(Martenitsa) achieves a curious and irresistible blend of dark harmony…like a storm wind at night, and a girlish candy tone across arched tongues…”  –  John Clare Sydney Morning Herald 1997

“(Tra Parole e Silenzio) joins together in glorious communion all arms of a cerebral band that championed world music in Australia before that nebulous term was even coined…(featuring)… Mara Kiek’s crystalline singing… and the spine-tingling solo vocals of Silvia Entcheva, formerly of the Grammy Award-winning Bulgarian group Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares… (it brings) together poetry and elements of jazz, folk and world music in a seamless and sensual union.”  –  Tony Hillier The Australian 2012

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