Lior and Stu Hunter: The Art of Listening

How can music enhance our listening skills? How can we build our capacity to be good listeners through the power of music? 

Listening deeply can help us to cultivate empathy, connection and a sense of belonging. While it may seem simple, becoming a better listener can be an elusive skill to develop. In this Secular Sermon acclaimed Australian musicians Lior and Stu Hunter share with us the virtues of listening and guide us through how music can help us to become better listeners.

Lior is one of Australia’s most successful singer-songwriters, renowned for his beautiful voice and songs that radiate truth and sincerity. Stu Hunter is a prolific composer, producer and musician who has appeared in one or more of these roles on over 120 music releases worldwide. Both have worked with some of the world’s best artists and musicians to create music that asks the audience to listen deeply.

For this Sunday Sermon, Lior and Stu will individually discuss their own critically acclaimed works ‘Compassion’ and ‘The Migration’ sharing their insights on the creative process and the art of listening; the interpretive act of engaging with the meaning behind the sounds.

Lior and Stu will perform solo and in combination, re-interpreting each other’s musical work live on stage. This event is a unique opportunity to hear two musicians discuss the fundamentals of the musical art; listening, using this skill to bring together different musical backgrounds and perspectives into one collaborative performance. 

Compassion: Using the strengths of their individual artistry, Nigel Westlake & Lior joined forces to express the wisdom of compassion through a combination of music and ancient Hebrew and Arabic poems and proverbs centred around the idea of how we should treat one another . ‘Compassion’ – a song cycle for voice and orchestra – was premiered and recorded with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in late 2013 at the Sydney Opera House and subsequently toured nationally with the major state orchestras. The recording of ‘Compassion’ won the 2014 ARIA for ‘Best Classical Album’.

The Migration: 
The third in a series of suites by Stu Hunter. The Migration is multi-dimensional work for an 11 piece band. It is a celebration, a conversation, a comment and a wish. It is about the movement of ideas and beliefs and about the questions instead of the answers. The Migration had its world premiere at the 2016 Sydney Festival at City Recital Hall.

The School of Life Sydney Sermons are a collaboration between The School of Life and Sydney Opera House Talks & Ideas.



Lior burst on to the Australian music scene in 2005 with his stunning debut album – ‘Autumn Flow’. Recorded and released entirely independently, and spearheaded by the much loved and timeless opening track ‘This Old Love’. Subsequent singles ‘Daniel’ and the title track ‘Autumn Flow’ both secured high rotation airplay via the national broadcaster Triple J, and further cemented this album into the hearts of the Australian public. A swag of accolades followed, including three Aria nominations (including Best Male Artist), as well as Triple J’s prestigious ‘J Award’ nomination for Album of the Year.

Lior has since released three more highly celebrated albums – ‘Corner of an Endless Road’ (2008), ‘Tumbling into the Dawn’ (2010) and ‘Scattered Reflections’ (2014). The latter traverses broader territory and showcases Lior’s fertile musical palate. The album secures Lior’s place as a master craftsman in the art of songwriting, and is the greatest exponent to date of his trademark voice.

Lior has toured extensively both in Australia and internationally and has been a regular performer at WOMAD and art festivals around the world, including an entire season at the Edinburgh Festival. Alongside his own tours, Lior has also toured in collaboration with artists such as Melbourne vocal group ‘Invenio’ headed by Gian Slater, as well as several visual artists, string quartets and full orchestras nationally.


A rising star in modern jazz, Australian producer, pianist and composer Stu Hunter made his breakthrough with his lauded album, The Muse (2007), followed by the award-winning sophomore suite, The Gathering (2010) which The Australian declared “a milestone in contemporary jazz”. Hunter’s music has a trace of dynamite smoke about it, such is its passion and smoulder. Besides his own remarkable work, Hunter has made a name behind the scenes accompanying the likes of Passenger, Silverchair and Katie