Steve BarrySteve is a New-Zealand born pianist, organist, composer and improviser based in Sydney. Winner of the 2021 APRA Professional Development Award for Jazz, Steve is a lecturer in jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Steve grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, and began playing the piano at age 4. As a teenager he received the Most Outstanding Musician (2007), Best Pianist (2007), Best Keyboardist (2006, 2008), Best Composition (2008) and Band of Festival (2007, 2008) awards from the Tauranga International Jazz Festival Youth Competition. Relocating to Australia in 2009 to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Steve graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance) with First Class Honours in 2011.
As a performer Steve works across the gamut of contemporary art music, from straight-ahead to modern jazz, musical theatre, contemporary classical music and free improvisation. As a composer, his original music reflects a fascination with lyrical melody and harmonic colour, driven by his doctoral investigation of pitch-class theory as a catalyst for both notated composition and improvisatory performance.
Steve is the Co-founder of Orbiturtle, an international, flexible instrumentation ensemble dedicated to curating new collaborations between artists from across the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting the sharing of creative practices and philosophies between eastern and western musical and artistic traditions. Orbiturtle was awarded an APRA Development Grant in 2016 to undertake a week-long residency in a Buddhist temple in Osaka, Japan with the acclaimed koto player and experimental improviser Michiyo Yagi.
In 2017 Steve attended the Banff Centre's two-week Composer-Pianist Collaborative, where he composed and premiered new works for solo piano and studied with renowned pianist/improvisers Craig Taborn and Cory Smythe (USA).
As an improviser Steve has performed with a host of acclaimed international artists including Jay Rodriquez, Mimi Jones, Camille Thurman, John Hollenbeck, Theo Bleckmann, George Coleman jr. and Arun Luthra (USA), Michiyo Yagi and Yoshio Suzuki (Japan), as well many prominent Australian musicians and groups - among them The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Dale Barlow, Jamie Oehlers, Sean Wayland, James Muller, Andrew Dickeson and Andrew Gander.
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