Nat BartschCertificate IV in Music Performance (Jazz/Popular) (2005)

What led you to a career in music?

Maybe genetics, mum was a primary school music teacher (although she is a school principal now) and my grandfather was a musician – he played piano. In fact he was still doing gigs up until quite recently.

I showed an interest in piano and went to a Yamaha music school from four years old. Yamaha music schools are structured for kids and in the first couple of years it’s about having fun, learning percussion and singing.

What did your family think about you choosing music as a career?

Initially they had reservations, but then they relaxed a bit and then got very excited as I began to develop. Now they are very pleased.

What was it like winning the Melbourne Prize for Music Development Award?

It was wonderful. I received a cash prize, which allowed me to tour to Europe with the Nat Bartsch Trio, performing in Belgium, Switzerland and supporting Abdullah Ibrahim’s Ekaya at a festival in Germany. I also received a grant from Yamaha Music, enabling me to get a new piano. I am now endorsed by Yamaha Pianos, and represent their products and do performances for them. Winning the prize has also created further performance opportunities for me, hopefully including a gig with an orchestra in 2012. So I couldn’t be happier with the result.

How is the “Springs, for all Winters” album going?

The album has created extra exposure. The Nat Bartsch Trio’s music as been featured in ABC Classic FM’s ‘Swoon’ and ‘On the Verandah’ segments, and as Album of the Week for Lucky Ocean’s ‘The Daily Planet’ on Radio National. The album was recorded for the Jazztrack program on ABC Jazz and produced by Mal Stanley. Mal Stanley is a great contributor to the Melbourne and interstate Jazz scene and is a talented sound engineer. We were very privileged to be asked to record the album and the album is selling quite well.

What led you to study at Box Hill Institute?

I did music performance in VCE and up until then I had enjoyed playing classical music. I had a quite late introduction to Jazz. I hadn’t intended to study music and completed a semester at Melbourne University. I then realised that I missed the music and decided to pursue it.

What did you get out of the Box Hill Institute course?

Box Hill creates musicians who can work in the Melbourne scene. After I finished the course at Box Hill I enrolled at the Victorian College of Arts (VCA). The Institute prepared me for VCA . I played a variety of different styles. It was fundamental to my development. During my time at Box Hill Institute I played gigs in different genres; rock, funk, pop and R&B. As I wanted to further my studies in Jazz, VCA was the obvious choice. I studied there with Tony Gould, Andrea Keller and Paul Grabowsky.

Who influences your music?

I am influenced by the piano music of my teachers and Indie rock, the music of Radiohead, Elbow and Sigur Ros. I was already into those bands. I am influenced by the improvised music of Europe and the Scandinavians.

How long have you been playing with the trio?

I have been playing with the trio since 2006. I also play with a variety of other bands from different genres. I perform with fellow Box Hill graduates Ryan Meeking, Tom Tuena, and an eclectic band called Robbie and the Melvilles. I love the diversity of playing with different musical personalities.