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Jake Church

Composer, Performer


Jake Church is a Wellington-based guitarist who enjoys exploring experimental music and collaborating to create new-music compositions. These works tend to come from improvised processes and performance exercises. Jake is currently working with Java Dance, focusing on improvisation processes between musicians and dancers, and as a soloist or featured artist. This work allows him to continue expanding his performance and pedagogical practices.

In 2019, Jake attended the inaugural 21C Guitar Conference in Ottawa and presented a seminar of his work on “Collaborating with the Guitar”. A trip to Sweden was funded by the Judith Clark Memorial Fellowship to study qualitative analysis with Professor Stefan Östersjö of Lund University and Stockholm Royal College of Music.

He completed a Master of Musical Arts research degree at the New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī, Victoria University of Wellington under the primary supervision of Dr Jane Curry. His studies explored the collaborative practices between non-guitarist composers and guitarist performers. This repertoire uses a mixture of contemporary style conventions from guitar music.

Jake worked as one the Raroa Music Centre’s guitar tutors and developed a studio of private students based at St Anne’s Church (Northland), St Benedict’s School, Makara Model School. Jake customises the educational material for the student’s areas of development and interests to instill the foundational processes of understanding and discipline for execution in classical music practices.

As a soloist and founding member of Duo Kitā, Jake has toured New Zealand and gained numerous performance accolades. Some of these accolades include: the Body/Harris Prize for best performance of a NZ work (Gorzanis Frammenti by Glen Downie, 2017): the New Zealand Aspiring Guitarist Award (2016), the Audience Choice Award (2014), 2nd Place (2014 and 2016) and best performance of a NZ work (2018) at the NZ Classical Guitar Competition, the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) Competition Final with Duo Kitā, and the winner of the Muriel May Competition (2015). He is also a grateful recipient of many grants and scholarships from Creative New Zealand (to commission Auckland composer Alex Taylor), the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, J. C. Richards Award, Freemasons Lankhuyzen/Whetu-Kairangi Biannual Music Award, Royal Arch Jubilee Scholarship, and Hinemoa-Kairangi Benevolent Trust Scholarship.

Composed (2)

First Improvisation

for taonga pūoro and electric guitar with pedal

The Whampster Illusion

for alto saxophone, violin, double bass, electric guitar and effects pedals

Resources (1)