Pathways Program nominated for 2024 Art Music Award

We are thrilled to announce that our Pathways Program has been nominated for the national 2024 Art Music Awards for Excellence in Music Education for the second year in a row!

Founded in 2014 in Perth, WAYJO’s Pathways Program includes both Progressions and the Northern Corridor Band (WAYJO NC).

Progressions (formerly known as Young Women in Jazz) is designed for female and non-binary instrumentalists who want to dive deeper into jazz and improvised music.

Participants get the chance to perform live at a professional jazz club and work with some of Australia’s top jazz professionals. The workshops, held at WAAPA, feature guest artists, alumnae tutors, and culminate in live performances.

The upcoming program runs on Saturdays from 2-4 pm, from 27 July to 14 September, with renowned trumpeter Chloe Rowlands (USA) as one of the guest artists. Registrations close on 24 July.

Our dedicated team, led by Gemma Farrell, includes Mace Francis, Monique Douglas, Emily Stokoe, and Lucy Iffla, all of whom contribute to making this program a success.

WAYJO NC, founded by Adrian Hicks and currently run by Jessica Herbert and Andrea Stimson, helps young musicians develop their skills in big band jazz. Rehearsals, held in a big band format, focus on jazz phrasing, articulation, artistic expression, improvisation, and playing various musical genres including jazz, funk, and Latin.

In addition to regular rehearsals, participants benefit from masterclasses, performance opportunities, collaborations, and mentoring from both Australian and international guest artists, WAAPA staff, and experienced WAYJO alumni.

We extend our congratulations to our fellow finalists for Excellence in Music Education:

• The Song Room for building thriving communities for children by championing Australian music in remote NT
• The Sonicrats (Alon Ilsar, Ciaran Frame, and Erick Mitsak) for You’re an Instrument! 2023 Victorian Schools Program
• Speak Percussion for Sounds Unheard 2023 Program

A special shout-out to WAYJO alum Linda May Han Oh, nominated for Work of the Year: Jazz for Ephemeral Echoes.

The APRA AMCOS and Australian Music Centre’s Art Music Awards is an annual celebration of the national art music community, recognising excellence among creators, performers, and community leaders in contemporary classical, jazz, experimental music, and sound art. The Awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, 14 August at Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne/Naarm.

Being nominated again is a tremendous honour, and we look forward to sharing all the exciting developments in the Pathways Program this year.

WNO members embark on cultural exchange to Japan

Showa University students in Perth with WAYJO in November 2023

Six members of the Wednesday Night Orchestra as well as General Manager Monique Douglas and Artistic Director Mace Francis are heading to Shin-Yurigaoka just outside of central Tokyo for rehearsals, performances, and cultural activities, as part of an on-going exchange between WAYJO and Showa University of Music in Japan.

The musicians heading on this week-long exchange are Ben Shelley (drums), Bob Tweedie (piano), Holly Forster (alto sax), Matt Knight (trumpet), Naoko Uemoto (baritone sax) and Taj Johnstone (trombone).

Directed by Masa Ikeda and Mace Francis, SHOWAYJO – as its affectionately known, was last together in November when six musicians from Showa came to Perth and performed at the Perth International Jazz Festival’s Jazz Picnic in the Park and recorded at Loop Studio. Listen to the release HERE.

The Showa University of Music, the Showa Graduate School of Music and the Showa College of Music are part of the Tosei Gakuen Educational Foundation, which is renowned for its forward-thinking in music education in the areas of traditional western classical music, musical theatre, ballet, and jazz and popular music.

This exchange is made possible through our Principal Partner, North West Shelf Gas.

2023 Composers-in-Residence

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra is delighted to announce the selection of Composers-in-Residence for this year. As part of our commitment to supporting young jazz composers, we are offering these talented individuals the opportunity to develop new works, enhance their writing skills, and explore the art of conducting.

Under the guidance of WAYJO’s Artistic Director, Mace Francis, our Composer-in-Residence program has become a hallmark of excellence in the industry since its launch in 2008. We encourage the composers to consider innovative approaches to utilising the big band instrumentation of the WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra and contribute to the vibrant jazz landscape in WA.

Read about the selected composers below, learn more about our Composer-in-Residence program, and stay tuned for updates on their exciting compositions and upcoming performances!

Oliver Taylor

Oliver a saxophonist, composer and music teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. He’s been playing the saxophone for nearly a decade, as well as picking up the clarinet and flute along the way. He has a deep passion for music and musical education.

Oliver completed an honours degree from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2021 and was awarded a $1200 prize for presenting the best honours recital in his graduating year.

Oliver is currently a member of WAYJO’s Wednesday night band and has a been a member since 2020. Oliver performs regularly around Perth, typically as a sideman playing jazz, swing, funk, blues, pop, and contemporary music.

Max Grynchuk

Max is a Ukrainian-born trumpeter, composer, and arranger based in Adelaide, Australia. He completed his Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours specialising in Jazz Performance at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide in 2018. During his time at university, Max was the recipient of several awards including the Howell Ross Award for Top Trumpet Undergraduate (2017), and the Keith & Susie Langley Memorial Award for Best Overall Honours Graduate (2019). He was also the recipient of the Mike Stewart Award (2019) presented by the Helpmann Academy and JazzSA, which was valued at $10,000 and required a grant proposal.

Max began writing for big band at age 14. At 16 he was commissioned to write for the JazzSA Superbands, contributing eight original works between 2012-2015. In 2018, Max was selected as the programs inaugural Composer-In-Residence, writing a further eight pieces that year alone. In 2019, Max returned to the program as a band director.

Max has recorded three albums as leader of his own big band. The band’s debut album ‘As For Now’ (2021) consisted of nine of Max’s originals compositions and featured special guest appearances from saxophonist Will Vinson and guitarist James Muller. The band’s second album, ‘Max Grynchuk Big Band Plays Eraser Description’ (2021), featured five of Max’s arrangements of the music of synth-funk trio Eraser Description. A follow up album, ‘Max Grynchuk Big Band Plays Eraser Description Vol. II’ was released in August 2022 featuring six new arrangements. Two of Max’s works were also featured on the Mike Stewart Big Band’s 2021 album ‘The Hang’.

Over 40 of Max’s big band compositions and arrangements are available for purchase through his website. He has sold works to high school and tertiary institutions around the world, including in the US, UK, Japan, France, and Luxembourg. Locally, Max’s pieces have been regularly performed by high school bands at festivals such as Generations in Jazz, and he has also written several big band division set pieces for the ABODA Band & Orchestra Festival.

Since 2016, Max has been the arranger for the annual Carols in the Park event hosted by the Tea Tree Gully council, the most recent of which attracted a crowd of 45,000. He has also been the primary arranger for the Royal Australian Navy Band SA since 2013, in which time he has contributed over 70 specialised arrangements for a variety of ensembles including big band, rock band and parade band.

Since 2015, Max has performed as a member of the Hilltop Hoods horn section. He has played at festivals such as Falls Festival, Splendour in the Grass, Groovin’ the Moo, as well as the Australian leg of their world tour, and as a support act for Eminem’s tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Max is currently the Bands Coordinator at St. Peter’s College SA.

Jessica Carlton

Jessica is a trumpet player and composer originally from Melbourne, Australia; now living in Perth.

Jessica graduated high school from the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Jazz Trumpet) from Monash University (2015) where she was awarded the Monash Jazz Prize (2014). Later in 2014, she released her first album ‘Not Alone’ and with this was nominated for the Bell Awards’ Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year. After living in New York for two years, Jessica moved back to Australia and moved to Perth for the first time in 2018. In 2021 she was nominated for the Music Trust’s Freedman Jazz Fellowship where she submitted a proposal about composing music about the feminist movement in China. Jessica recorded some of that music on a collaborative quartet album (with Kate Pass, Talya Valenti, and Alana Macpherson) entitled ‘Undeniable’ (released 2022). In 2022, Jessica was also nominated for WAM’s Best Brass Instrumentalist.

Jessica received the higher degree by research scholarship at WAAPA and is currently undertaking a research project about musical ekphrasis (transforming visual art and poetry into music composition and improvisation).

Jessica has been teaching trumpet for the past ten years and is very passionate about good quality, empathetic, and equitable education for young students. As an autistic woman of colour, Jessica is also deeply passionate about gender and racial equality, as well as disability inclusion and awareness, particularly in education and music performance.

WAYJO MNO (2022)

2023 WAYJO Band Auditions Open

2023 WAYJO Band Audition registrations open Monday 19 September for people wishing to participate in the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) in the coming year. Musicians interested in learning jazz performance and improvised big band music, aged 14-25 and able to rehearse in Perth during 2023, are encouraged to apply.

Positions in each of the three big bands are auditioned every year, offering the opportunity to perform at some of Perth’s best venues, work with top band leaders and touring guest artists, plus travel regionally, nationally and internationally. WAYJO also annually commissions original big band works, trains band leaders, and runs pathway educational programs.

A total of fifty-four places are available within three big bands – the MinterEllison Monday, St John of God Health Care Tuesday, and WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestras. All three 18-piece bands each audition for Saxophones (2x Alto, 2x Tenor & 1x Baritone), 4x Trumpets, Trombones (3x Tenor & 1x Bass), 1x Guitar, 1x Bass, 1x Piano, 1x Drum Kit, plus 1x Vocalist.

Running the first two weekends in December, auditions are allocated on a first come first served basis. Aspiring band members are encouraged to register early, as places sold out in previous years.

Auditions and band rehearsals are held at WAYJO’s rehearsal studio in the historic Maylands Hall, located corner Eighth Avenue and Guildford Road. Musicians who cannot attend the December dates can apply through video audition.

At the forefront of forging professional, contemporary big band, ensemble and solo jazz artists since 1983, WAYJO’s impressive alumni includes international jazz luminaries Linda May Han Oh, Dane Alderson, Troy Roberts and Mat Jodrell.

WAYJO celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2023 by continuing to build the future of Australian jazz through outstanding emerging jazz performer, composer and band leader opportunities.

Registrations for 2023 WAYJO Band Auditions close 5.00pm, Friday 18 November only if not filled prior. Visit for all requirements and registration link, but don’t delay if you want to come and play!

WAYJO NC 2022 with John Morrison

WAYJO NC Celebrates First Birthday with Two Great Concerts

Happy 1st Birthday WAYJO NC!

The WAYJO NC, training band for the Northern Corridor, started midway through 2021. Despite being amid a pandemic, enthusiasm for this new band was high.

WAYJO NC Program Coordinator Adrian Hicks wanted to give an opportunity to students in the Northern Suburbs of Perth to learn and explore playing Big Band Jazz. “Many schools, struggle to provide these types of opportunities to their students as they simply don’t have the numbers” says Adrian.

Enter WAYJO, Minderoo Foundation, and the start of a wonderful collaboration.

A year on and the band has now developed into a full-size big band with skills to participate in its first WA Schools Jazz Band Festival this month. To give the best opportunity for the students to learn it was suggested to share MD duties term-by-term and so far the members have had with other WAYJO Alumni Alex Parkinson and Jess Herbert, both of which have used their expertise to improve the musical outcomes of the ensemble.

The band has also had some special workshops such as when WAYJO TNO, directed by Marty Pervan, joined a rehearsal to give the students an experience they would never forget – two big bands in one room! Recently, John Morrison also provided the players with his many years of experience too.

Band Members have really grown and developed their ensemble and sight-reading skills and over the past year. Some had never improvised, read jazz music, or played together in this style of band before – and now, not only has their confidence grown they have started to make lifelong friendships.

It is a real treat to see this develop before our eyes. All in all, a jam-packed inaugural year for Perth’s newest young Big Band.

Catch the WAYJO NC upcoming performance in August and September;

2022 WA Schools Jazz Festival
Sunday 14 August
WA Academy of Performing Arts (ECU) – Edith Spiegeltent
Tickets only at the venue

The Trombone: Big Band Backbone – Act Belong Commit Concert
Friday 16 September
Prendiville Catholic College – Redmond Theatre
Tickets through WAYJO

You can find out more and get involved at – plus check out our other Act Belong Commit concerts

WAYJO NC is part of WAYJO’s Pathways Education Program, supported by Healthway promoting the Act Belong Commit message, and our Major Partner Minderoo Foundation

WAYJO 2022 Brubeck Scholarship

WAYJO 2022 Brubeck Jazz Summit Scholarship

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) are proud to announce Wednesday Night Orchestra members Cass Evans-Ocharern (bass) and Bob Tweedie (keyboard) were selected as this year’s recipients of the 2022 Brubeck Jazz Summit Scholarship. Joined by musical chaperone and WAYJO board member Kate Pass, they travelled to Sierra Nevada University, North Lake Tahoe July 10 to 16 for the annual United States jazz performance intensive.

“We had an amazing week at the Brubeck Jazz Summit in beautiful Lake Tahoe. It was an invaluable experience getting to hang out with and learn from some of the best jazz musicians in the world right now” comments Kate. “It was wonderful to see Cass and Bob thrive within the cohort, bringing a mature musical outlook, ensemble skills and etiquette, and of course a sense of humour!”

Cass says “The Brubeck Jazz Summit was an absolutely incredible experience. It was surreal to fly across the world because of Jazz. We had the amazing opportunity to work under some of the best Jazz musicians in the world, such as Chad LB, Connie Han, Rodney Whitaker, Sean Jones, Gilad Hekselman, and Eric Harland. We were able to work with each faculty member in ensembles, learn from their Masterclasses and also watched them perform with Dave Brubeck's son's, Chris and Dan Brubeck.”

“We also had the absolute pleasure of meeting other like-minded, young Jazz musicians from not only all over America, but also the UK! It was so lovely to make new friends from such different backgrounds and I am looking forward to seeing where each student goes in their career.”

"I am so fortunate to have had such an incredible opportunity because of WAYJO and Classical Tahoe. It was an absolutely amazing learning experience and I am so thankful to have gone.”

Brubeck Jazz Summit is a one-week intensive jazz performance training program offered to thirty selected students from throughout the world. It offers the unparalleled opportunity to workshop with Brubeck Institute faculty, guest artists and master teachers as the living legacy of the musician and international statesman, Dave Brubeck.

The Brubeck Jazz Summit accepts annual online applications from highly motivated students. More information about the program is online at


WAYJO 2022 Brubeck Scholarship
Kate Pass (Ctr. R), with Brubeck Artistic Director Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (pic. Ctr. L), and WAYJO members Cass Evans-Ocharern (R) & Bob Tweedie (L). Photo by Connor Moen.

Hashtags: #WAYJO2022 #BrubeckJazzSummit


Justine Thornley WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

2022 WAYJO Pathways Education Semester Two

WAYJO’s Act Belong Commit Pathways Program offers a chance to explore jazz music, or learn more about auditioning for the band. There are two audition-free, inclusive workshops available in semester two for aspiring young musicians are now open for registrations;

  • WAYJO Northern Corridor (NC) is a training orchestra for high school students wishing to extend themselves through learning how to read and play various styles of music. It is held Tuesday evenings at St Stephens in Duncraig with a performance in their theatre in September.
    Semester 2 registrations open 9.00am Monday 27th June, and close Thursday 21st July, 2022.
  • WAYJO Club is an exciting opportunity for aspiring instrumentalists and vocalists, aged 12-18 years, to learn about and participate in jazz music making with WAYJO in a social and inclusive setting. WAYJO Club is open to all young musicians with a basic understanding of music.
    Semester 2 registrations open Tuesday 28th June, and close 5.00pm Tuesday 26th July, 2022.

Head to for more information and registration details.

WAYJO’s Pathways Education Program is supported by Healthway promoting the Act Belong Commit message, and our Major Partner Minderoo Foundation.


Photograph by Adrian Hicks.

John Morrison visits WAYJO NC

Tuesday 10 May WAYJO's Northern Corridor band had the incredible experience of workshopping with jazz drummer and bandleader John Morrison.

"Engaging and inspiring the next generation of musicians, John gave his personal insights, and showed them the ropes of what it takes to play big band music like the pros. From delving deep into the nitty-gritty of balancing, shaping phrases as a unit, and creating interest and momentum in solos, to hilarious recollections of his early days with brother James Morrison, and sharing 'the only cowbell in Australia' with jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. John's given them all a memorable experience they will cherish, and the valuable lessons in musicianship will stay with them forever." - WAYJO NC Term 2 Guest Tutor, Alex Parkinson (photo by program leader, Adrian Hicks).

The eldest of the Morrison family, John has spent much of his musical life playing and recording with his younger brother James Morrison. After living in New York in the late eighties, John and James returned home to form Australia's premier jazz big band 'The Morrison Bros Big Bad Band'. John also has played with a variety of well-known artists including James Moody, Scott Hamilton, Richie Cole, John and Jeff Clayton, Garry Dial, Jimmy Whitherspoon, Eartha Kitt, Don Burrows, George Golla, and Bob Barnard.

WAYJO NC offers training orchestras for high school students wishing to extend themselves, and learn how to read and play various styles of music including jazz, funk, latin and rock - no audition required! Both training bands rehearse Tuesday Evening’s during school terms at St Stephen’s Music Department in Duncraig.

Semester Two registrations open Monday 27 June, and close Thursday 21 July, 2022. For more on NC visit

WAYJO NC is part of WAYJO’s Pathways Education Program, supported by Healthway promoting the Act Belong Commit message, and our Major Partner Minderoo Foundation.


Photograph by Adrian Hicks.

2022 WAYJO Composer in Residence Thomas Voss & Associate Bob Tweedie

2022 WAYJO Composer Residencies Announced

Now entering its fifteenth year, the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) Composer in Residence program is proud to announce its recipients for 2022.

Congratulations 24-year-old Composer in Residence Thomas Voss (SA), and 21-year-old Associate Composer Bob Tweedie (WA).

“We were again pleasantly surprised at the quality of applications this year for the 2022 Composer in Residence” states WAYJO Artistic Director, Dr Mace Francis. “Thomas showed us exceptional big band craft and mature writing. Bob showed us interesting and exciting compositional ideas that I am excited to see transferred to big band format. This is an exciting year for this project and I am looking forward to hearing and seeing the results.”

Thomas Voss is an Adelaide-based trombonist and composer/arranger who performs with and writes for a variety of local ensembles, including his own septet and big band. Thomas was selected as the lead trombonist for the 2021 and 2022 Australian National Jazz Orchestra Youth Big Bands, has performed in Adelaide’s 2019 International Jazz Day concert, and was the JazzSA Superbands 2019 Composer in Residence, also serving as the program’s coordinator since 2021. Thomas also won the 2017 Carl Fontana Jazz Trombone Competition, and was a finalist in the 2017 James Morrison Scholarship.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the 2022 WAYJO Composer-in-Residence, and very excited to have the opportunity to work with a program that has helped to train and advance so many fine musicians” says Thomas.

Bob Tweedie (WAYJO Member 2018-2022) is an enthusiastic young piano player who loves to play many kinds of music, but especially jazz. He is a graduating student of the WAAPA jazz course (Hons), teaches both privately and part-time at Santa Maria College, and keyboardist in WAYJO’s Wednesday Night Orchestra (WNO). Currently dabbling in synthesisers and electronics, Bob plays with local bands such as Ken Paolo and the Space Cadets, and Residents’ Club. Some notable performances include being featured at the 2021 Perth International Jazz Festival with Sam Forster, as well as alongside some of Perth’s best pianists at the Ellington Jazz Club’s Solo Piano Showcase.

“It’s a privilege to be able to work with WAYJO, an organisation that provides such high-quality opportunities to developing musicians. WAYJO has been one of the core pillars in Perth jazz community for many decades, and acted as a transition for amateur musicians to become professional gigging musicians” states Bob.

The WNO will record these exciting new works July at Loop Studios in West Perth. Applications for the WAYJO’s 2023 composer in residence program will open early next year. For more information, visit

Hashtags: #WAYJO2022 #WAYJOcir

2022 WAYJO Composer in Residence Thomas Voss & Associate Bob Tweedie
2022 WAYJO Composer in Residence Thomas Voss (pictured left), and Associate Composer Bob Tweedie (pictured right).


Mace Francis WAYJO Artistic Director
+61 8 9471 1950

Justine Thornley WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

2021 Young Women in Jazz Concert

WAYJO Celebrates Young Women in Jazz and International Women’s Day 2022

On International Women’s Day, WAYJO celebrates eight years of presenting the Young Women in Jazz in Western Australia - an 8-week workshop program open to female identifying instrumentalists aged 14 - 25 who have an interest in jazz and improvised music.

“This course suits young women who are new to improvisation, plus more experienced musicians wanting to add to their skill set. It is a series of workshops for young women and people of marginalised genders to learn about jazz improvisation and small ensemble performance alongside likeminded peers and supportive, experienced tutors.” Program coordinator Gemma Farrell.

Starting April 30, Saturday afternoon workshops will be conducted at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (on the ECU Mt Lawley campus) in small groups by leading female educators, WAYJO Alumnae, plus special guest artists. The workshop culminates in the exploration of newly found skills before an audience at Lyric’s Underground, Sunday 26 June.

"I really liked how it was a comfortable, ensemble environment where it was okay and accepted to make mistakes. During the workshops, my ensemble would always crack jokes, but rehearse efficiently and learn about the different ways to approach jazz standards and improvisation. During the workshops we had some really cool guest artists visit like Jessica Carlton, Talya Valenti, Alana Macpherson, and Sue Bluck.… I made some great connections with people that I now play with at gigs, and will go on to study with at WAAPA." 2021 participant, Valentina Macias.

Registrations for Young Women in Jazz 2022 do not require audition and now close Friday 22 April, 5.00pm AWST - only if not filled prior. Places are limited to 50 participants, so book soon to avoid disappointment.

For more information about WAYJO’s Young Women in Jazz  program, please visit

Young Women in Jazz is part of WAYJO’s Pathways Education Program, supported by Healthway promoting the Act Belong Commit message, and our Major Partner Minderoo Foundation

WAYJO also acknowledges program partners SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association), St John of God Health Care, and venue support from the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (Edith Cowan University).

Hashtags: #WAYJO2022 #YoungWomenInJazz #ActBelongCommit #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias
Photograph: 2021 Young Women in Jazz Concert by Izzy La Cunza


Click image to download printable PDF poster


Gemma Farrell
WAYJO YWIJ Program Coordinator
+61 8 9471 1950

Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950