Born into a mostly un-musical household, I was lucky enough to have parents who agreed to buy their 7-year-old a drum-kit. And I’ve drummed in one form or another ever since. Early musical passions included my mum’s Beatles and Elvis records, then my own cassettes of Gladys Knight and the Pips, followed by CDs of Phil Collins and Pink Floyd. In high school I met Steve Reich, Beethoven and Bill Evans, along with some serious timpani and marimba lessons and long before university it was clear I could only be a musician.
Percussionists are lucky in that we can fit into most musical situations. I was soon playing in professional symphony orchestras, community musical theatre shows, cabarets, contemporary and experimental music groups, and rock and pop bands (including my own original band PROP). I am often asked what my favourite percussion instrument is and while its not easy for me to pin down only one, I have found the most immediate connection with tuned percussion, notably the marimba and vibraphone. I find they satisfy my musical brain most fully - melody, harmony, rhythm, and above all else, a sheer beauty of sound.
To that end, I made many trips in the 2000s to the USA to study marimba and finally in 2009, I decided to move to Boston to study full time with world-renowned marimbist Nancy Zeltsman at the Boston Conservatory. Having spent 10 years in Sydney as a successful freelancer this was a bold step - uprooting my life and effectively ending the career that I had. But it felt right. I needed to find the next thing. My time in the US allowed me to focus solely on who I am as a musician and work on exactly what I want to say an artist.
In April 2014 I discovered that my grandfather was born in the UK, thus allowing myself and (my now wife) Nina to relocate and settle in London. And here the challenge begins. After 5 years studying in the USA, the time is right to put all that work into practice.
Performer, composer, and educator, Jeremy Barnett is one of the most versatile percussionists to come out of Australia. Currently based in London (UK), Jeremy’s musical world crosses all genres from classical to pop, contemporary music to cabaret and musical theatre, electro-acoustic solo projects to dance, and everything in between. In Australia, he was a member of bands including PROP, CODA, Petulant Frenzy, and the Daryl Pratt Sextet, and he regularly performed with the Sydney Symphony, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, and Synergy Percussion. Jeremy is featured as marimba soloist on the soundtrack to the major motion picture ‘The Black Balloon" and has presented marimba and electro-acoustic percussion recitals in Australia and the USA. More information at www.jeremybarnett.net