Having lived and studied in Switzerland, France, England, and the United States, Swiss-born Emanuel Schmidt moved to Australia in early 1991 after completing his degrees in Biological Oceanography and Aquaculture at the Florida Institute of Technology. Emanuel received a Bachelor of Arts (Music Performance) with Honors from the Wesley Institute in Sydney, where he was also recipient of Awards for Excellence in Music Production and in Composition. A versatile musician, Emanuel started playing drums, then keyboard and bass, before discovering his passion for guitar. His final year recital at the Wesley Institute earned him a high distinction.
Emanuel attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1995 to study Advanced Jazz Improvisation and Big Band Performance. In 1997, he completed a course of study in Music Performance, Composition, Music Technology, and Musicology at the University of Western Sydney. Emanuel then returned to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and in 2005 completed his Ph.D. in “Communication Processes in Jazz Performance” and was a recipient of the Margaret Henderson scholarship for his research work. Emanuel has lectured in Harmony, Composition and Arranging, and while in Australia, was a member of the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA), the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA), and the Jazzgroove Association. He is also a member of Jazzforschung (The International Society for Jazz Research, based in Graz, Austria) and The Las Vegas Jazz Society.
An excellent and experienced musician, Emanuel has performed at schools, clubs, cafés, and festivals – for intimate crowds as well as for thousands – in Australia, Switzerland and in the USA. According to Emanuel’s peers and educators, he is “an outstanding and versatile guitarist of exceptional ability, and an extraordinarily thoughtful and hard-working musician.” Described by The Australian Music Centre’s Ian Shanahan as an “accomplished and imaginative composer,” Emanuel has written for full orchestra and performs reflective, emotive, and adventurous original compositions with his groups.
Emanuel’s groups have featured some of Australia’s finest jazz musicians, too numerous to name, including Simon Barker, Miroslav Bukovsky, Andrew Dickeson, Sandy Evans, Mark Harris, Paul McNamara, Gerard Masters, Craig Scott, Alister Spence, and Lloyd Swanton. One of these groups, Jabbôq Jazz, won the 2006 and 2008 Australian Achiever Award in the Entertainment category. Emanuel has performed in the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ (1995) and toured throughout Australia with the multi-award-winning Company B production, ‘Keating! The Musical’ (2007). He has recorded live and in-studio and has maintained residencies. Emanuel has also appeared live on Australian national television and his performances have aired on Eastside Radio, 2NSBFM, 2MBS-FM, 2SER, and SBS Radio.
Moonlit Questions (Schräägi Musig), a 2-CD set of his original works released in 2007, received enthusiastic reviews: “Emanuel is clearly an excellent guitarist… thoughtful and lyrically impassioned, and with a beautiful sound” (John Clare, Sydney Morning Herald); “Just the way great jazz should be made, from the soul, expressing the feelings of the moment…”(Phil James, Eastside Radio); “…truly communicates. ★★★★” (Matt Bailey, 2MBS’s Fine Music Magazine).
At the prestigious EIGHT O’CLOCK SHARP: Jazz In The Round series, which featured Sydney jazz guitarists and their bands, Emanuel’s quartet performed two intimate hours of his original works. Until July 2009, Emanuel was Jazz Artist in Residence at Sydney venue 72 Erskine, where the majority of his eleven concerts sold out. Emanuel continues his extraordinary career in Las Vegas, where he currently resides.
What others have to say about Emanuel
“Emanuel is clearly an excellent guitarist…thoughtful and lyrically impassioned, and with a beautiful sound.” – John Clare
“Just the way great jazz should be made, from the soul, expressing the feelings of the moment…”- Philip James, Eastside Radio, Sydney, Australia.
“Swiss jazz guitarist Emanuel Schmidt’s Moonlit Questions is exactly that – a series of questions posed to the listener as he guides us through the topics and stories that have impassioned him as a musician and a human being. Through tracks like ‘The Incense of Kim Phuc’ and ‘Webicht’, Schmidt’s journey is often very political and intense, the range of emotions through his playing and cohesion with the band work perfectly… I highly recommend Emanuel Schmidt’s new album to fans of Kenny Burrell or the likes of Wes Montgomery, or anyone keen to hear a jazz quartet truly communicating through music.” 4 stars – Matt Bailey (Fine Music Magazine)
“ An exceptionally thoughtful and hardworking musician.” -Kim Poole
“… An accomplished and imaginative composer and an outstanding guitarist” – Ian Shanahan
“Emanuel is a technically and lyrically demanding player …” – Pierre Herrero
Emanuel on Eastman
From the moment I first played an Eastman archtop at Gladesville Guitar Factory in Sydney, Australia three years or so ago, I fell in love with these instruments. I am now the proud owner of a stunning Pagelli PG-1, a beautiful sounding and eminently playable instrument initially designed by Swiss luthiers Claudio and Claudia Pagelli. I love the way the instrument illustrates the main philosophy of jazz music: tradition married to innovation. The PG-1 also has such a big acoustic sound, and its stunning appearance elicits comments everywhere from the moment I open its case. The Eastman Pagelli PG-1 is sure to be my instrument of choice in my upcoming recordings and performances.