Featured Composer: Natalie Bartsch
Nat Bartsch is a Melbourne-based jazz pianist/composer who has gained a reputation for playing contemplative, soulful music across a variety of genres, both in Australia and internationally. In 2010 she was awarded the Melbourne Prize for Music Development Award, which cemented Nat’s reputation as an exciting new Australian artist.
A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (Honours) in music improvisation, she is best known for her work with her original jazz ensemble, Nat Bartsch Trio, which combines the sound of contemporary Australian jazz with influences from indie rock and European improvised music. In 2008 Nat travelled to Norway and Switzerland to study with ECM pianists Tord Gustavsen and Nik Bärtsch (who is of no relation) – both of whom have had a lasting impact on Nat’s direction as a bandleader/composer and inspired her to create an aesthetic that is unique to the Australian jazz scene.
Nat Bartsch Trio has performed across Australia, Japan and Europe. The trio’s debut EP was released independently in 2008. This was followed by the album Springs, for all the Winters recorded for ABC Jazztrack, and released on Rufus Records in 2010. She was also a finalist that year for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year at the Bell Awards.
In 2013 her trio released the critically acclaimed album To Sail, To Sing, an independent release partially funded through a successful Pozible crowdfunding campaign. The release was album of the week on ABC Jazz. The album was launched in May in Japan, supported by Arts Victoria.
In 2014, Nat collaborated with fellow pianist Luke Howard to create the "Festival of Beautiful Sound" - a concept designed to showcase ambient, reflective music with artists from a multitude of genres. The Festival (in two parts) debuted at the Melbourne Recital Centre in February and August, to sell out audiences.
Nat also plays and sings with indie rock band Whitaker, and folk duo Sweet Jean.
“We are at a point where jazz can incorporate the crystaline, the pure and singing… This is exceptionally expressive, finely articulated playing.” (John Clare)
“We deserve to hear creative young Victorians like these, who in their youth are already capable of producing music of transcendent beauty." (Steve Robertson)
Nat is supported by Yamaha Pianos.
Nat Bartsch's new work Into the Light was premiered in PLEXUS: Post-Patriarchal on 16 March 2015 at the Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre.
Into the Light is a composition dedicated to all women who served in World War I. Within the horrors of war was the opportunity for many women to become something other than a mother or housewife, if only for a short time. The piece is intended to capture the butterflies that such women must have felt as they embarked on their journey; travelling to the other end of the earth, facing many unknowns, carrying a sense of purpose, responsibility and, perhaps, naievete about what lay ahead. These women, such as nurse Rachel Pratt, were stepping into the light of a world much bigger than they had imagined; albeit for tragic reasons.
– Nat Bartsch