Nat Bartsch is a Melbourne-based jazz and contemporary classical pianist/composer who has gained a reputation for creating contemplative, reflective music across a variety of genres. 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 as pianist/composer for the Nat Bartsch Trio, which has performed across Australia, Japan and Europe, and released three critically acclaimed recordings. As a recipient of the inaugural Lionel Gell Travelling Scholarship, Nat travelled to Europe in 2008 to study with ECM artists Tord Gustavsen and Nik Bärtsch (no relation). She was also a 2010 Bell award finalist for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year.
After putting the trio on hold at the end of 2014, Nat shifted her focus to composition of chamber music and solo piano works. She co-founded the “Festival of Beautiful Sound” with fellow pianist Luke Howard, which led to a series of sold out concerts at the Melbourne Recital Centre. In 2015, the PLEXUS Ensemble commissioned her work Into the Light as part of their MRC concert series, and in 2016 she completed a commission for the Solstice Trio, For Mary. In 2017, Nat is set to release her first solo record.
Nat also plays with indie, folk and postclassical artists such as Whitaker, Sweet Jean and Timothy Coghill. She has also played, toured and/or recorded with Matt Corby, Ella Thompson and Tom Tuena.
Nat is also a public policy student and mental health advocate, with a specific interest in promoting the health and wellbeing of performing artists.
“We are at a point where jazz can incorporate the crystalline, the pure and singing… This is exceptionally expressive, finely articulated playing.” (John Clare)
Nat is endorsed by Yamaha Pianos.
Photo: Brett Scapin
Nat Bartsch Trio
Nat Bartsch Trio was a contemporary jazz piano trio featuring Nat’s compositions and unique arrangements of contemporary popular music, active from 2008 to 2014. The trio is inspired by Australian jazz greats Andrea Keller, Tony Gould and Paul Grabowsky; indie rock and pop music of the likes of Elbow and Sigur Ros; and the improvised music of Europe – particularly through Nat’s study with Tord Gustavsen and Nik Bärtsch* in 2008. This variety of influence enables the trio to communicate heart-warming music to a broad range of listeners, extending far beyond the jazz scene.
The trio was initially formed in 2006 during studies in improvisation at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia, with bassist Josh Holt and drummer Leigh Fisher. Nat was joined in 2013 by drummer Daniel Farrugia (Luke Howard Trio) and Tom Lee (Michelle Nicole Quartet).
The trio’s debut self-titled, EP, Nat Bartsch Trio (2008) was followed by their acclaimed 2010 release Springs, for all the Winters, recorded for Mal Stanley’s ABC Jazztrack Program, and released on Rufus Records. Singer Vince Jones nominated Springs as his favourite release of 2010 on Radio National, and the trio’s music is regularly played on ABC Classic FM and ABC Jazz.
Nat Bartsch Trio has extensive experience in live performance, including a tour to Japan in 2009 (in collaboration with bassist Seigo Matsunaga) and Europe in 2010 (most notably, supporting Abdullah Ibrahim’s Ekaya at the Jazz-Transfer Festival in Germany). The trio has appeared at the Stonnington Jazz Festival, Walsh Bay Jazz Festival, Brisbane Jazz Festival, Valley Jazz Festival, and the Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival.
In 2013, Nat Bartsch Trio released their critically acclaimed 3rd CD, To Sail, To Sing, partially funded by a successful crowd funding campaign. In May 2013, the trio launched this new album in Japan, performing Tokyo, Kyoto and Niigata, supported by Arts Victoria’s Contemporary and Live Music Development program. At the end of 2014, the trio performed their last concert for the foreseeable future, due to health reasons making band leading more difficult. However, Nat hopes that one day the trio will reform again…
‘(Nat Bartsch Trio) is a democracy after all, and their statements come through with clarity and poise…. We deserve to hear creative young Victorians like these, who in their youth are already capable of producing music of transcendent beauty.’ (Steve Robertson, Portland Observer, 29/12/10)
Photo: Samara Clifford