Artistic Team

WAYJO’s immensely talented and passionate Artistic Team are the foundation of our program. They provide the knowledge, musicianship and inspiration for our orchestras, ensuring that each musician develops and improves their skills throughout the year.

Mace Francis

WAYJO Artistic Director & Musical Director, Wednesday Night Orchestra

Dr Mace Francis, WAYJO Artistic Director & WNO Musical Director

Mace has been involved with WAYJO since 2001 as both a musician and Musical Director.

In 2008 Mace was appointed lecturer in jazz arranging and composition at WAAPA as well as artistic director of the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) where he has implemented emerging composer commissions and guest artist programs. Since his appointment, WAYJO has performed with Fred Wesley (USA), Darcy James Argue (USA), Allen Vizzutti (USA), Kristin Berardi (NSW), David Theak (NSW), Franck Tortillier (France), Jim McNeely (USA), Ed Partyka (Austria), Darcy James Argue (USA), Dick Oatts (USA), Mike Abene (USA), Jim Rotondi (USA), Ed Neumeister (USA) Mike Stewart (SA), Michelle Nichole (VIC), Mat Jodrell (NY), Ross Irwin (VIC) and iOTA (NSW).

Mace Francis is a passionate advocate of original Australian large ensemble jazz music, forming his own 14-piece ensemble in 2005 – the Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO). MFO have recorded 8 CDs, toured nationally four times and performed with international artists Jim Pugh (USA), Jon Gordon (NY), John Hollenbeck (NY), Satoko Fujii (JAP), Theo Bleckmann (NY), Jean-Baptiste Bridon (France) and Ed Partyka (Austria).

Since 2004, Mace’s focus on composition has awarded him the 2004 APRA Professional Development Award, the international Italian composition prize Scrivere in Jazz, a finalist in the 2010 Freedman Jazz Fellowship, nomination for two Australian Jazz Bell Awards (2013 & 2016), the 2015 winner of the APRA AMCOS Art Music Award: Jazz Work of the Year and received the 2017 Prelude Gallop House 12 month residency.

Mace has worked as guest composer and conductor with l’Orcehstre des Jeunes Jazzmen de Bourgogne (France), the Graz Composers Ensemble (Austria), the Showa University of Music Big Band (Japan) the Satoko Fujii Tokyo Orchestra (Japan) and nationally with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Jazz Orchestra (NSW), ATM15 (VIC), The Bennetts Lane Big Band (VIC), the Enthusiastic Musicians Orchestra (QLD), The Con Artists (QLD) and the West End Composers Collective (QLD).

In 2017 Mace was appointed the festival director of the Perth International Jazz Festival, and completed a PhD exploring site-specific composition for which he received the 2015 Faculty Research Medal.

Marty Pervan

Musical Director, Tuesday Night Orchestra

Marty Pervan,
TNO Musical Director

For over 20 years Marty has performed as a musician on Trumpet, Trombone, Sousaphone and Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxophones, taught brass, theory, composition and improvisation in several primary and secondary schools, directed large and small school and community ensembles including the Western Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra. Marty’s musical versatility has enabled him to engage in a diverse range of genres from New Orleans style brass, Latin, Jazz (small to large groups), Reggae, Ska, dub, funk/soul, as well as his own original music for quartet, sextet, and big band.

He often plays with his own Latin group, “Nueva Salsa Orchestra”, local Symphony Orchestras and is also in high demand as a session musician appearing on over 50 recordings as a performer, and or composer and arranger. He is a regular part of the pool of pit musicians hired for professional touring musical productions – most recently the Perth season of “Hair”, Tim Minchin’s “Matilda” and the Disney touring production of “Aladdin”.

Ricki Malet

Musical Director, Monday Night Orchestra

Ricki Malet,
MNO Musical Director

Ricki Malet has been performing all over Perth for the last 20 years (including a residency with quartet ‘The Fix’ at the Moon Café for 15 years) with various bands covering lots of different styles and has toured extensively. With tours to Europe in 2002 with original band Prawns with Horns, New York in 2006 with the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO), Melbourne in 2006 with the Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO) and 2007 with Funk outfit The Roast as well as Australian tours with MFO in 2008, 2010, 2011 & 2013, the Daniel Susnjar Afro-Peruvian Jazz Group in 2017 & 2018 and the Jamie Oehlers Quintet in 2019. Also, most recently Ricki has played and recorded with the Australian National Jazz Orchestra at the Sydney Con Jazz Festival in 2017 & 2019 and been invited to perform and workshop students at The Brubeck Institute in 2014, 2016 & 2017, SHOWA University in Tokyo, Japan in 2018 and Kunstuniversität Graz (KUG) in 2019.

He has recorded 7 albums with MFO, 2 albums with trad jazz group The Hounds, 1 album with Daniel Susnjar’s Afro-Peruvian Jazz Group, 1 album with Australian National Jazz Orchestra, 1 album with Jamie Oehlers, 1 album with Kate Pass Kohesia Ensemble and an album and an EP with his ‘electric band’ Fat Sparrow in 2015 and 2017. In addition he features on tracks with many other groups including Descarga, Prawns with Horns, Drapht, Optamus, Odette Mercy and her Soul Atomics, Saritah and more. When not performing, Ricki also teaches at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

Gemma Farrell

Program Coordinator, Progressions

Gemma Farrell is a jazz saxophonist, composer, and educator. She is a PhD candidate and lecturer in jazz studies at WAAPA. She has led the WAYJO Pathways Program, Progressions (formerly Young Women in Jazz), since 2014. In 2023 the WAYJO Pathways Programs have been nominated for an APRA AMCOS Art Music Award for Excellence in Music Education. In 2022 Gemma started the Femme Composers ensemble, a large ensemble at WAAPA dedicated to performing the music of people of marginalised genders.

Gemma has a Master of Music degree from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and a Bachelor of Music with Honours from the Queensland Conservatorium. In 2022, her band, the Artemis Orchestra, won WAM Song of the Year in the Jazz Category for their recording of “The Elephant in the Room.” In 2020 she won Best Brass, String or Woodwind Instrumentalist at the WAM awards. She has been nominated for 8 other WAM awards, including Best Brass, String or Woodwind Instrumentalist (2018, 2019), Best Jazz Act (2018, 2019, 2022), Best Funk Act (2007), and Song of the Year – Jazz (2016, 2018). Gemma was one of three finalists for the 2022 Australian Women in Music Awards in the Humanitarian category and is a finalist again in 2023. She was one of 16 Australian musicians nominated for the Freedman Fellowship Award in the Jazz Category in 2022. Gemma has released eight albums as a leader. In July 2022, Gemma was a guest artist with WAYJO’s Monday Night Orchestra, showcasing the saxophone family, the EWI and her original compositions as a part of their program.

The Gemma Farrell Quintet is Gemma’s principal project as a leader. In 2018 they released their album “Organised Chaos,” a local feature album on RTRFM and also featured on ABC Jazz Radio. The Quintet performed at RTRFM’s In The Pines Festival, before completing an Australian tour in 2019, performing at the Perth International Jazz Festival, the Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival, JMI Brisbane and the Jazzlab in Melbourne. In 2021, they performed at RTRFM’s Neon Picnic, the Perth Festival, the York Jazz Festival, and PIJF “On Tour” in Busselton. After further PIJF “On Tour” performances in Margaret River and Mt Barker in 2022, The Gemma Farrell Quintet released their second album, “The View From The Top,” launched at Lyric Lane in May 2022, and also a local feature album on RTRFM. It received a four-star review in Dingo Australian Jazz Journal. The group performed as a part of Jazz Fremantle’s “Women to the Fore” festival in November 2022. The Quintet recently recorded their third album “Electronic” which is set to be launched in 2024.

Gemma is the founder and musical director of the Artemis Orchestra, a predominately female big band that performs the original music of Australian women, non-binary and transgender people. Their debut album “Elephant in the Room” was released in June 2021. It was a local feature album on RTRFM and also featured on ABC Jazz Radio. It received a five-star review in Dingo Australian Jazz Journal. In 2021, the orchestra performed at the Perth International Jazz Festival and RTRFMs In The Pines Festival. In 2022 they performed at the Lyric Lane Jazz Festival, Hidden Treasures Fremantle, the Perth International Jazz Festival, Fremantle Art Centre’s Sunday Music program, and celebrated their 5th birthday at the Sewing Room. As a result of winning WAM Song of the Year 2022, the Orchestra has won a day of recording, and they plan to record an EP in September 2023. They are scheduled to play at Melville Summer Music in November 2023.

MFG is Gemma’s project with Cologne-based guitarist Nico Maas and Zurich-based keyboardist Thomas Goralski. MFG has released three albums and completed two Australian tours and a European tour. MFG is hoping to tour and record again in 2023.

In August 2018, Gemma travelled to Stockton, California, on behalf of WAYJO to be a tutor at the Brubeck Institute’s Summer Jazz Colony at the University of the Pacific.

Gemma performed alto saxophone on the Mace Francis +11 album “Isolation Emancipation,” which was released in November 2021 and featured on Foxtel’s “The Scene” in March 2022.

Gemma also performs in the Perth Saxophone Rockers and the 950 express. Gemma runs the monthly Femme Jam at Rodney’s Bait and Tackle, a jazz jam for people of marginalised genders, with an all-female house band.

Jess Herbert

Music Director, Northern Corridor Training Band

Jess Herbert is a musician, band leader, arts worker, events producer, and a graduate of WAAPA with over 15 years’ experience in the music and arts scene in WA. She is the Founder and Creative Director of Perth Cabaret Collective and The Amnesiacs Big Band and is the Musical Director of the UWA Jazz Ensemble and WAYJO Northern Corridor Band. Jess is a local Maylands resident, and the recipient of the 2023 City of Bayswater’s Women in Leadership Award. She is also the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the Lyric Lane Jazz Festival which is celebrating its 3rd year this August. A strong champion for gender diversity in the music scene, Jess has inspired many young female musicians to pursue a career in music and the arts and works tirelessly to represent peoples of marginalised genders in all aspects of her work.