Introducing Freyja Garbett – WollCon’s newest piano and jazz teacher

Alumni | Faculty

Introducing Freyja Garbett – WollCon’s newest piano and jazz teacher

Published

February 07, 2022
WollCon alumna Freyja Garbett is a professional musician based in Australia (since 2017), performing and working as a producer and composer on piano and synthesisers, combining electro-acoustic sonic palettes with jazz improvisation.

She is also one of the three (wo)mentors of the Sisters of Sound program, recently launched with 2 other WollCon Alumni – Jodie and Lucy whom she met as a student at WollCon.

“It was when I was in high school that I joined WollCon, I was thrown straight into the deep end in a jazz combo led by renowned Australian bassist Mike Majkowski, and Eric Dunan allowed me to sit in on his highly acclaimed Jazz orchestra until I gained some confidence.”

In 2007 the WollCon jazz program, led by Eric Dunan, toured the west coast of the USA, performing alongside Bobby Shew in San Francisco and attending the annual Reno Jazz Festival. 

Freyja Garbett Staff WollCon

“A major highlight of that festival was when our ensemble, including Jodie Michael, Kevin Kerr, David Reglar and John Wynne, won the AAA division for small ensembles. Because we won our division, we were provided the opportunity to play a piece in a huge basketball stadium on the same night as the John Scholfied trio. This was an extremely exciting and eye opening experience for us!”

In 2016 she graduated with a Bachelor of Music (summa cum laude) from Berklee College of Music in Boston USA, majoring in performance and jazz composition. After returning to Australia at the end of 2016, she gained commissions by SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association) and APRA AMCOS (a music rights management organisation) to compose an extended work for a ten-piece jazz ensemble. ‘Bulga’ is a multi-movement suite which heavily utilizes synthesisers, FX and a range of studio techniques to manipulate the band’s recorded improvisations. 

Bulga performed by Freyja’s septet which also recorded her debut album ‘Maya’, released on Art as Catharsis Records in November 2019. 

Freyja currently lives in Austinmer and is performing and working as a session musician, composer and producer on piano and synthesisers. She’s also completing a Masters of Music (Performance) as a part of the new Equity in Jazz scholarship program at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, while teaching piano as a part of the ‘Sisters of Sound’ educational music workshops and classes for young women.

“The Sisters of Sound program aims to help women of all ages grow their music skill sets, build confidence, explore curiosity, and embrace self expression. Our students are provided with educational music resources, learning from experienced mentors, all WollCon alumni – bass (Lucy Clifford), drum (Jodie Michael), and piano (myself) – and have the opportunity to explore jazz, pop, rock, and soul.”

Just to add to that very busy schedule, Freyja will now be teaching at WollCon, where she will join the jazz and piano faculty for its 50th birthday year (2022), teaching students, ensembles and supporting the various performances scheduled for the year… Welcome Freyja.

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