Emma Rush – Guitarist

Emma Rush is “widely regarded as one of Canada’s premier classical guitarists” (Vivascene Magazine) and her career has commanded world recognition. Touring highlights include the Shanghai International Guitar Festival, Festival de Guitarras Lagos de Moreno (Mexico), Future Echoes Festival (Sweden), and the prestigious Internationales Gitarren Symposion Iserlohn (Germany). Rush is a favourite guest at Canadian guitar festivals including GuitarFest West (Calgary), Guitar Alla Grande (Ottawa), Sauble Beach Guitar Festival (ON), and the Montreal International Guitar Festival and she tours regularly across Canada and world-wide. “Emma Rush has crafted a sound that transcends generations and speaks directly to the heart and soul.” (Too Much Love Magazine)

Emma Rush is passionate about bringing classical music to unusual spaces, and bringing unusual music to classical spaces.  She regularly tours rural, remote, and other communities where live music experiences are rare.  Her concerts are intimate and engaging and feature rarely heard historical works, little-known gems of the Latin American guitar repertoire, folkloric music from around the world, and, always, music by female composers.  

A Dream of Colour was released in July 2023. Featuring “exquisite additions to the contemporary Canadian guitar repertoire” (The WholeNote) that Rush commissioned, the album is inspired by the work of Canadian impressionist painter William Blair Bruce and includes pieces by Amy Brandon, Christine Donkin, Dale Kavanagh, Jeffrey McFadden, Daniel Mehdizadeh, Craig Visser, and Christina Volpini. Wake the Sigh (2020) “remakes history” (Tinnitist) showcasing rare, previously unrecorded music written for guitar by women in the 19th century. Canadiana (2017) features music dedicated to Rush by Toronto composer William Beauvais and commissioned arrangements of iconic Canadian songs by Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Stan Rogers. Folklórica, a collection of global guitar music was released in 2016. “Rush’s technique is flawless…” (The Whole Note)  

Composers are eager for Emma Rush to perform their music and she has had works dedicated to her by the Canadian composers William Beauvais and Timothy Phelan, Mexican composer Winy Kellner, and Jaime Zenamon from Brazil.  

Emma Rush is an avid collaborator.  Azuline Duo, with flutist Sara Traficante, has performed throughout North America, from the Yukon to Texas, and has released two albums to date. Rush performs Guitar Magic concerts with acoustic guitarist James Bryan (Philosopher Kings, Prozzak).  The two perform high-energy sets that showcase classical and fingerstyle guitar together.  In 2023 Rush toured Nova Scotia with the Three For All trio, playing with steel string guitarist Scott Macmillan and flamenco guitarist Daniel MacNeil.

Emma Rush is in demand as a presenter and educator and is sought after as a guest lecturer at colleges and universities, musical and historical societies, and guitar festivals. Some of her recent engagements were the Swedish Guitar and Lute Festival, Marlow International Guitar (DC), Montreal Guitar Society, Halifax Institute of Traditional and Early Music (NS), University of Lethbridge (AB), University of Regina (SK), Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art (ON). She was an artist-in-residence at Dalhousie University in 2016, and in 2023 toured Nova Scotia for an education residency with Debut Atlantic visiting schools throughout the Eastern Shore and Cape Breton. She was the classical guitar instructor at Mohawk College in Hamilton from 2011-2021.

Emma Rush has been awarded three Hamilton Arts Awards and grants from FACTOR, the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Arts Nova Scotia, and Hamilton’s City Enrichment Fund. She was selected as an artist-in-residence in 2018 at GEDOK Schleswig-Holstein in Lübeck, Germany and was in 2018 and 2022 selected for residencies at the Sointula Art Shed, on Malcolm Island, BC.

Passionate about presenting music to the public, Emma Rush founded and presented the Hamilton International Guitar Festival from 2011-2019 and the Guitar Hamilton Concert Series (2009-2020), and currently presents Nelson Guitar Days in BC (2022-2023). She is a director with GuitarFest West (Calgary), and has been a director with Lonestar Guitar Festival (TX), and the Collegiate Peaks Guitar Retreat (CO).

Rush completed her graduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany (2006), following an honours Bachelor of Music degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS (2002). 

To learn more about Azuline Duo (Emma Rush and Sara Traficante) visit: 

For world-wide online lessons and to book in-person lessons please contact Emma Rush here. 

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