Now in its 13th year, the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence program has annually supported two emerging composers to develop new works for a large jazz ensemble, offering both generous commission fees and artistic mentorship.

This year we had a large number of applications which makes the decisions very difficult. This is a good indication that jazz composition is still alive and well in this country, especially seeing the quality of the submissions.

However, only two composers could be selected to fill the Associate Composer in Residence and the Composer in Residence positions. They were chosen based on their previous work, education, and proposed ideas for the commission.

WAAPA composition graduate Maddie Ivy from WA was successful as the 2020 WAYJO Associate Composer in Residence.

Maddy has a great grasp on orchestration and craft, as well as creative ways of using the big band and a variety of genres and musical settings.

Des Cannings from NSW will be the 2020 WAYJO Composer in Residence.

Des’s skill and craft in writing for big band instrumentation and respect for the tradition was displayed in his previous work. Des hopes to push his concepts of melodic development and creative form in ways he has not previously been able to do.

The WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra will premier and record these young composer’s exciting new works at the 2020 King St Corner Pocket Jazz Festival, running 30 July to 1 August.

For more information about WAYJO’s composer in residence program and commissioning, please visit


Des Cannings - WAYJO 2020 Composer in Residence
Des Cannings – 2020 WAYJO Composer in Residence


Maddie Ivy – 2020 WAYJO Associate Composer in Residence



Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

Mace Francis
WAYJO Artistic Director
+61 8 9471 1950