by Emily

Emily is a multi-instrumentalist and composer.

I started studying Classical Cello as a child in 2004, when I fell in love with the The Bach Cello Suites and dramatic pieces of music from the Romantic period, which I now think of as the earliest form of Pop Music. Through the Suzuki Cello system I learnt to internalise music and reach a greater depth of musicality, particularly by memory in large group settings.

In 2008 I also started learning guitar and would write music of my own inspired by 70’s Folk Records. I had already started writing music on my Cello about dragonflies and other insects, and enjoyed the lyrical element of it. In 2012, I started playing in bands including a Folk group called My Tree Origin with my friend Lulu Spencer. We would record collections of songs, experiment with vocal layering and rhythm guitar. We would also write our own material as a duo with a lot of string orchestration which we would produce in our rooms under our mutual middle name, Victoria.

I would also write and record demo tapes of my own music to experiment with different effects with a little m-box that I was given as pay for running workshops at a local Rock school.

Because of my interest in harmonic relationships, I joined many choirs and orchestras to learn more about layers in music and would arrange strings for my own music. I sang choral music with the Young Voices of Melbourne and played in Orchestras on most weekends. I loved hearing that final moment when all the parts flourished like a flower.

I was drawn to Jazz Music; the density of it, the sweet lyrics and how they complemented film scores (of course the presence of the Jazz singers too, in films like Blue Velvet and Annie Hall). I was encouraged to embrace the warmth of Jazz Standards by my teacher and mentor at the time, Ainslie Wills. In 2017, I started studying a Bachelor of Music (Jazz and Improvisation, Voice) at VCA, Melbourne University, which opened my eyes to the world of experimental music and  collaboration in a live group setting (which was particularly fun in the dark!). 

In 2017, I received the Future Leaders’ Jazz Award, to sing at Ubud Village Jazz Festival in Bali with my friend, pianist Siwei Wong. In 2019 I was the recipient of a New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program place to participate in an art installation at Tsinghua University with arts students from different disciplines. I have also received various musical scholarships at school which recognised my work as an instrumentalist.

In recent times, I have played in various musical groups including an experimental Jazz Avant Garde project called Prickle which released one EP involving seaweed creatures, cherub babies and greens and blues in a seaside setting.  

I have also directed an improvisation quartet consisting of, Cello, Guitar, Harp and Double Bass, which featured vocal hooks surrounded by lush texture and 90’s beats and performed as a part of the Katarzyna Wiktorski Octet and other improvisational groups as a sessional musician.

While studying, I was encouraged to teach instruments, Voice, Songwriting and Music Theory. I have taught at various private music schools around Melbourne, as well as my own private home studio for the past three years. This sort of work has been very fulfilling and also insightful and useful for my own musical development.

Currently I am working on material for my own solo project under my own name, about roses and summer and love and anticipation. I’m currently in the process of recording a few of these songs for release. In the meantime I am performing my original music via Instagram live through my account @emilyvictoria2303 .

It is so wonderful to be working with Charlotte on our theatre show which we are writing as we go! Charlotte used to tell stories to me when I was a young child and so it seemed sort of natural that we work together as our friendship grew with time. At the moment we are preparing some material for Melbourne Fringe as well as short theatre pieces which will perform online! More details TBA.