"Listening to Bartsch’s music is akin to feeling a reassuring hand resting on one’s shoulder. It’s music that invites contemplation, and that radiates tenderness, empathy – and yes, hope."
– The Age
“Setting out to compose a suite of ‘lullabies’, Bartsch has exceeded her aim.”
– Music Trust
“Every note is chosen and played with the utmost love and care.”
– Benjamin Northey
“Her approach unites lyrical beauty with unsentimental abstraction in a fascinating way.”
– Tord Gustavsen
"All 41 minutes of this recording exemplify authenticity and depth, and moments of poignant beauty are many... With anxiety and stress levels at their breaking points, soul-soothing music of its kind has never been more needed."
Nat Bartsch is an ARIA-nominated, multi-award-winning Australian pianist and composer who creates lyrical, ethereal work that explores the space between classical and jazz genres. Her sound is influenced by Australian piano luminaries Luke Howard and Andrea Keller, studies with ECM pianists Tord Gustavsen and Nik Bärtsch, and the indie heroes of her upbringing: Sufjan Stevens, Elbow and Radiohead. She has released seven recordings of original music, toured domestically and internationally, and collaborated with some of Melbourne’s finest artists.
Bartsch has become most well known for her lullabies, which, during early motherhood, saw her translate her gentle aesthetic into music with purpose. Inspired by Max Richter’s Sleep project and the genre-crossing of the Teeny Tiny Stevies, Bartsch created a suite of lullabies designed to soothe babies to sleep, but also be meaningfully enjoyable for adults. After interviewing music therapists, she composed a series of pieces incorporating as many of their recommended parameters as possible (tempos similar to a mother’s heartbeat, gentle sounds, simple melodies and harmonies, ostinatos and repetition). Each piece is named after her newborn son’s stage of development at the time. The resulting album, Forever, and No Time At All was released in 2018 on ABC Classic. It is played regularly by many families, but also by people from all walks of life, supporting women in labour, people with mental illness, autism and grief. This album, as well as her 2017 solo debut solo Hometime, were produced by friend and pianist Luke Howard. In 2020, Bartsch released Forever More, a jazz sextet re-interpretation of her lullabies, which was nominated for an ARIA for Best Jazz Album. In early 2021 she will release another classical record, Hope, produced again by Howard. A 3-track single from Hope, Searching for the Map, was recorded during COVID-19 lockdown and released digitally earlier this year.
Bartsch also composes chamber music, with commissions from Plexus Collective, Solstice Trio and The Muses Trio. She is studying a Masters of Composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music with Stuart Greenbaum and Miriama Young. She also holds an Honours degree in music improvisation from the Victorian College of the Arts, and was bandleader of her own jazz piano trio for many years. This breadth of experience enables Bartsch to sit comfortably between genres, challenging assumptions of what a ‘classical’ or ‘jazz’ artist should be. She releases music both under ABC Jazz and ABC Classic labels.
Bartsch has been awarded the 2020 Catherine Mary Sullivan scholarship, 2020 Classical:NEXT Artistic Associate fellowship, 2019 Johnny Dennis Music Award, 2012 Will Poskitt Piano Scholarship, 2010 Melbourne Prize for Music Development Award and the 2007 Lionel Gell Travelling Fellowship. She was also a 2010 finalist for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year. Bartsch has also worked as keyboardist/vocalist in many contemporary genres, with artists including Whitaker, Thando, Timothy Coghill, Sweet Jean, Matt Corby, Ella Thompson and Circus Oz. She is also a mental health advocate, with a specific interest in promoting the health and wellbeing of performing artists. Bartsch has undertaken research exploring the two-way link between bipolar disorder and creativity which has been presented at a variety of conferences.
Bartsch is endorsed by Yamaha Pianos.
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