Emma Grace Stephenson is an Australian pianist and songwriter who has shared the stage with prolific musicians and bands such as Ingrid and Christine Jensen (Canada/US), Gian Slater, the Sirens Big Band, Sandy Evans, Greg Gould (Australia’s Got Talent 2013), and Brittanie Shipway (The Voice 2014). Her music combines rhythmic, harmonic, and improvisatory elements from her roots as a modern jazz pianist, with folk-pop songwriting influences.
Emma is the latest recipient of the ‘Jann Rutherford Memorial’ award for young women in the Australian jazz scene. This award facilitated a collaboration with the award winning Australian vocalist, Gian Slater, culminating in performances for the Melbourne and Sydney Women’s Jazz Festivals, and a recording at ABC studios in late 2016. An album of this work will be released in February, 2017.
In early 2015, Emma travelled to New York City to study with jazz pianists Aaron Goldberg, Jean-Michel Pilc and Ted Rosenthal. Later that year, she was awarded a travel scholarship from the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, which funded a return trip to the USA in January 2016, where she recorded with ‘Hieronymus Trio’, on their self-titled, debut album. Emma has travelled to Scotland to perform at the Edinburgh Jazz festival and Aberdeen International Youth Festival with the Alex Silver Quintet on a tour funded by the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA) in 2013.
Emma is currently enrolled as a full time PhD student at the Sydney Conservatorium of music, under the supervision of Dr. Simon Barker, where she is in engaged in creative, practice-led research related to developing her artistic practice. Emma has studied with celebrated Australian jazz pianists including Marc Hannaford, Judy Bailey and Matt McMahon. As an undergraduate student at the Sydney Conservatorium of music, she was awarded the 2012 Corinna Taylor Memorial Prize, and the Jacek Chrowtowski award for jazz pianists in both 2015 and 2016. For the Conservatorium of Music’s centenary in 2015, Emma was interviewed on behalf of the jazz course with Mike Dalton on Channel 9 news. She graduated with First Class Honours in April 2016.
Emma’s blog and podcast ‘Stuff You Can’t Say With Jazz Piano’ was launched in mid 2016 as a creative side project and a platform for voicing thoughts that can not be adequately expressed through the otherwise gratifying art form of music!