A Monash University jazz pianist has impressed the judges to take top prize at the prestigious Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival.
PhD student Joe O’Connor from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music took the risk of performingSotto Voce, a dissonant ballad he wrote, as one of three pieces performed in the final round of Australia’s top jazz award. The National Jazz Awards have been an integral part of the Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival since it began in 1990.
The competition required Joe to play a blues piece, a ballad and a composition by Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Paul Grabowsky or Mike Nock. For the final round he chose All Blues by Miles Davis,Peri’s Scope by Bill Evans, andSotto Voce which he performed as a solo piano piece. Joe thought it may have been a risky choice to play his own composition in the final round, but it allowed him to explore some unconventional approaches to jazz improvisation that used nearly the entire range of the piano.
Joe said it was a real honour to have received such positive affirmation from the judging panel of renowned jazz pianists Mike Nock, Paul Grabowsky and Barney McAll.
“I hold all three pianists in the highest esteem,” Joe said.
“It was a personal goal to reach the semi-finals of the competition. Winning was an unexpected bonus. I haven’t previously received any accolades based on my playing, though I won a big band composing competition a couple of years ago.”
Joe said the competition offers a great opportunity to gain exposure and recognition on a national level.
“I’m excited about the performance and recording opportunities the award will open up as well. The prize includes a gig at Stonnington Jazz Festival and an ABC Jazztrack session with Mal Stanley,” Joe said.
Joe is developing original music for a jazz piano trio as well as a quintet he has formed since commencing his PhD, researching ways that Ruth Crawford Seeger’s approach to dissonant counterpoint can inform jazz composition and improvisation.
“I’m premiering music with these ensembles for a performance at Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club in early December. I am also co-directing a newly formed Bennett’s Lane Big Band with saxophonist Tom Noonan which will take over the residency at the Melbourne Jazz Co-Op on the first Monday night of each month next year,” Joe said.
Find out more:
Monash at the Malthouse Podcast: ‘Nothing to Lose’
Last month, Monash took part in a panel discussion at the Malthouse Theatre on body … Continue reading Monash at the Malthouse Podcast: ‘Nothing to Lose’
All things being equal
Are we making headway in getting greater women’s participation in Asia-Pacific politics? by Jacqui True … Continue reading All things being equal
Monash student wins Melbourne Press Club Student Journalist of the Year
Monash University’s Jenan Taylor has won the Melbourne Press Club’s 2014 Student Journalist of the … Continue reading Monash student wins Melbourne Press Club Student Journalist of the Year
A new degree sets new horizons
The Bachelor of Global Studies was officially launched last month by Dr Simon Adams, Executive Director … Continue reading A new degree sets new horizons
Apply now to study in Italy, New York or Indonesia this year
Monash Arts offers students a number of opportunities to make their study experience an international … Continue reading Apply now to study in Italy, New York or Indonesia this year
Monash academics draft working paper on ‘Women in Politics’
Monash Academics from the School of Social Sciences, Professor Jacqui True, Dr Swati Parashar and … Continue reading Monash academics draft working paper on ‘Women in Politics’
Joint PhD program offers global research opportunities for philosophy student
Thomas Ryan is the first Monash University student to study at the University of Warwick … Continue reading Joint PhD program offers global research opportunities for philosophy student
Musical Symposium Hits High Note
The first international symposium on the Malay musical arts of the Riau Islands (also know … Continue reading Musical Symposium Hits High Note
Bachelor of Global Studies to be launched this year
Monash Arts will be offering the Bachelor of Global Studies for the first time in … Continue reading Bachelor of Global Studies to be launched this year
Ebola and the ethics question
Tolerating impoverished healthcare systems dramatically increases the risks associated with contagious disease, as the current … Continue reading Ebola and the ethics question
Death or Liberty concert and documentary commemorates rebels exiled to Australia
Since November, filming has been underway in Tasmania and Ireland for the television documentary Death or Liberty, the screen adaptation of the history of political rebels and radicals transported as convicts to Australia. The documentary is adapted from the book: Death or Liberty: Rebels and Radicals Transported to Australia 1788-1868, written by Dr Tony Moore from the school of Media, Film and Journalism.
The case of Peter Greste and notions of press freedom
By Dr Andrea Baker The imprisonment of the Australian journalist Peter Greste in Egypt received … Continue reading The case of Peter Greste and notions of press freedom