Joe O’Connor is one of Australia’s most accomplished jazz pianists and composers. He won the 2013 National Jazz Award, held annually at Wangaratta Jazz Festival, and was named Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year at the 2014 Jazz Bell Awards.
Joe holds a PhD in musical performance from Monash University, where he researched how Ruth Crawford Seeger’s approach to dissonant counterpoint can inform his composition and improvisation. Joe also holds a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the Queensland Conservatorium, where he was the highest achieving student in his graduating year.
Joe co-directs of the large improvising ensemble UNFIX and performs original music with his own ensembles. His trio with Marty Holoubek and James McLean recorded a set of original music for ABC Jazztrack in April 2014. The resulting album, PRAXIS, is now available for purchase in the recordings page of this site, and can be purchased digitally in iTunes. He is currently developing a collaboration between the Unfix, the Penny String Quartet and vocalist Georgie Darvidis, which will also feature new works by Reuben Lewis, James Macaulay, Georgie Darvidis and Ben Harrison. A recording of this music will be released early in 2017.
Joe was the 2016 recipient of the PBS Young Elder of Jazz commission, which he used to develop a collaboration between the Joe O'Connor Trio and master trumpet player Scott Tinkler. The set of music, entitled Confrontations, explores conflict and multiplicity in improvisation and was presented at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and Wangaratta Jazz Festival in 2016.
Joe is in demand as a sideman and has performed alongside many emerging and established Australian jazz musicians including Allan Browne, Julian Wilson, Phillip Rex, Scott Tinkler, Callum G’Froerer, James McLean, Jeremy Rose, Paul Williamson, Chris Hale and many others.
He has performed as a part of the Australian Art Orchestra’s Hardcore on the Fly concert series and participated in the Australian Art Orchestra’s Tanks creative music intensive in September 2014. His work entitled Confluence was premiered by the Monash Art Ensemble under the direction of Paul Grabowsky in 2014.