Shannon Barnett
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Shannon Barnett

Dame Joan Sutherland Fund recipien
t, Trombonist
Origin: Melbourne
Currently based: Cologne, Germany
Trombonist Shannon Barnett graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2005 with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours). She has since undertaken further study at the School for Improvised Music in New York (2006) and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada (2010). In 2007, she was named Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year and has since performed with various artists including Charlie Haden, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jon Faddis, The Bamboos and Circus Oz, as well as releasing her debut album ʻCountryʼ on Which Way Music. In 2011, she relocated to New York City to study for her Master of Music degree at the State University of New York Purchase College, under the tutelage of John Fedchock, John Abercrombie and Todd Coolman.
Who are you as an artist?
I'm a jazz trombonist and composer. My influences are broad though; I love so many different styles of music and I aim for my compositions to reflect that. I've also enjoyed establishing a career as a sideperson; interpreting the musical experiments of others. 
What prompted you to come to the US?
I was looking for a challenge; to push myself as a musician and to learn more about the history of the music that I love to play. The US is not just the birthplace of jazz, it still provides a breeding ground for musicians today to further their craft. New York in particular attracts a wide range of musicians, from all over the world. I wanted to be a part of that. 
What did your course/project involve?
I studied for two years at SUNY Purchase; taking private lessons as well as subjects including composition, arranging, small and large ensembles, and jazz history. 

What were the highlights of your experience?
The chance to learn from musicians who are an integral part of the history of the music. Also, the performing opportunities and connections that my professors gave me outside of the classroom. 
Where did you find inspiration? 
In New York, everywhere! The place is flooded with interesting people and incredible artists. 
What will you take away from this experience?
Aside from honing my craft as a musician and creating a strong network in NYC, I really grew as a person. It's not an easy place to live and I learnt some survival skills, that's for sure. 
What is your favorite piece of work that resulted from this experience?
Performing in the band of one of my professors, Jon Faddis, in his tribute to Dizzy Gillespie (his mentor) at the Rose Theatre at Lincoln Center, NY.
What are you currently working on?
In late 2013, I was invited to audition for a full-time position with the WDR Big Band, based in Cologne, Germany. I was successful in that endeavour, and so relocated in January. Outside of the band, I'm working on original material for a new album, to be recorded in Denmark in July.
What is your vision for the future?
To continue to have opportunities to perform my own music and that of others whom I admire. 
What advice would you give other artists aspiring to come to the US?
Plan ahead! Connect with any existing contacts you have and research available funding opportunities. Have a strong idea of what you want to achieve. It probably won't go exactly how you planned it, but that's all part of the fun. 
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