Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Nationally recognized: StFX music professor Adrean Farrugia nominated for 9th JUNO award 

February 3rd, 2023
StFX music professor Adrean Farrugia

StFX music professor Adrean Farrugia, a JUNO award-winning pianist and composer who has been called one of Canada’s most distinct voices on the piano, has been nominated for another JUNO award. 

Prof. Farrugia is nominated for a JUNO award in Jazz Album of the Year: Solo category as a performer on the Ernesto Cervini recording ‘Joy.’ 

The JUNOs, which recognize the best in Canadian music, will be held this year on March 13th in Edmonton, AB.  

“I was happy to hear this news,” says Prof. Farrugia, who teaches in StFX’s Music Department, with a focus on piano, improvisation, keyboarding skills, and music analysis.

“It's always exciting and rewarding to be acknowledged for one's work by peers and members of the industry in which we work. It motivates us to keep contributing. This is my 9th JUNO nomination to date and, fingers crossed, if we win it will be my third win.” 

‘Joy,’ he says, is a special album. 

“All of the music is inspired by the works of beloved Canadian author Louise Penny who is most known for her now extensive series of mystery novels centered on the work of Francophone inspector Armand Gamache in the fictional village of Three Pines. I've had a long musical relationship with drummer and composer Ernesto Cervini spanning 15 years and we've performed on many albums together, but 'Joy' stands out as a unique project.” 

Prof. Farrugia joined the StFX faculty in September. 

“It's wonderful to be a part of the world-class faculty here. StFX's music degree program was the very first of its kind in Canada, and has a long and distinguished list of former alumni,” he says. 

“I grew up and lived my first 47 years in the Toronto area. I've had a blessed career as a musician and educator touring all over the world and teaching at some great schools in Ontario and abroad. Being here at StFX feels like an amazing opportunity to live somewhere new, and very different from where I came from, and also very beautiful, and to also share the culmination of my past experiences with a new group of students and a new community of people.”

There is also an incredible faculty of amazing musicians, he says, that he is getting many opportunities to create music with here, “and that's exciting. And also StFX is a wonderfully supportive institution in that it encourages its profs to stay professionally active in their fields, so ultimately I don't feel like taking on a teaching post here means making any sacrifices to my career as a performer.” 

Prof. Farrugia says he is looking forward to exploring the musical culture of Nova Scotia in a deeper way, as well as finding opportunities to bring his own music here. 

Since the late 1990s, he has been in high demand as a freelance performer and educator. Keeping a busy touring schedule, mainly as a sideman, he has toured extensively across Canada and the United States as well as in venues across Europe, Australia, the UK, Israel and in Japan. 

He has performed/recorded with some of jazz’s greatest and most diverse artists and currently performs/has performed with such diverse projects as the Matt Dusk Band, the Brad Goode/Ernie Watts Quintet (featuring Ernie Watts and Adam Nussbaum), Turboprop (2020 JUNO Award winners), The Johnny Griffith Quintet, Heather Bambrick, Jocelyn Barth, Marito Marques, Violinist Drew Jurecka, Tim Shia’s ‘The Worst Pop Band Ever’, as well as extensively with his partner and vocalist Jessica Lalonde. 

As a leader Prof. Farrugia has released five albums. His second album ‘Ricochet’ was nominated for a 2011 JUNO award for best contemporary jazz recording, and his most recent release Blued Dharma on GB Records earned him a 2019 Louis Applebaum Composers Award nomination. As a composer, he has penned more than 30 works. His 2020 release ‘Jazz Vinyl’ earned a 2020 Production Music Association Mark Award for Best Production Music Artist. 

Prior to StFX, he has served on the faculties of the University of Toronto, Humber College, York University, and Mohawk College. He has also given workshops/clinics at the University of Colorado, University of Toronto, The University of Western Ontario, The Banff Centre for the Arts, The Sydney and Brisbane Conservatories in Australia, and in Warsaw Poland as part of the Polish Jazz Society’s 35th annual Summer Jazz Workshop. 

He has been a contributing writer to piano guru Larry Fine’s publication “The Piano Book,” the world’s foremost publication on all things piano. 

He has also been a performer and panelist at the 63rd, 67th, 69th and 70th annual Conference on World Affairs in Boulder Colorado. He is endorsed by Shigeru Kawai pianos. 

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