Q&A with MNO musical director Ricki Malet

Musical Director of the MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, Ricki Malet, reveals what’s in store for this week’s concerts with Sydney saxophonist David Theak. 

Why are you excited to work with David Theak?
Ricki Malet: Dave is an amazing composer, arranger, musician and educator. He has run his own big band, The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, as well as the Sydney Con Big Band and is now involved with the Australian National Youth Jazz Orchestra. It is going to be fantastic for the MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra to be able to spend a week learning from him.

For many of the MinterEllison Monday Night band members, this will be their first regional tour, what do you enjoy most about the touring program and taking the big band to play in front of new audiences?
RM: I enjoy watching the growth of the band over the tour! As the younger of the bands they really develop confidence in their abilities from working with schools to performing in front of new audiences.

We’re already into September and the MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra has now performed together quite a few times, how have you seen them develop as a big band?
RM: As always, it’s the most rewarding part of being an MD with WAYJO. I get a front row seat to them building their confidence and learning to gel musically together. There were a lot of first time WAYJO members and they have grown a lot, but people will have to come see for themselves.

What’s your favourite piece of music to direct?
RM: At the moment I’m really enjoying doing Andrew Murray’s arrangement of ‘The Shadow of Your Smile’, it’s a fantastic version that we did some years ago when Andrew wielded with the band and I love bringing it out from time to time.

Is there anything you can tell audiences about what they can expect from this week’s performance program?
RM: Amazingly talented, young musicians! You must come and see them with your own eyes and ears!!

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm, Thursday 14 September -Fishtrap Theatre, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
MinterEllison MNO with David Theak
Click here for tickets

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm, Saturday 16 September – Downstairs at The Maj
MinterEllison MNO with David Theak
Click here for tickets

WAYJO presents Swingin’ at St Stephen’s, proudly supported by St Stephen’s School
7:30pm, Friday 15 September
St Stephen’s School Theatre, Duncraig
Click here for tickets

Don’t Get Around Much Any More: David Theak meets WAYJO

Performing the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and more, our MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra will be joined on stage by the extraordinary David Theak – a highly accomplished saxophonist and leading Australian jazz educator from Sydney.

Head of Jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium, co-artistic director of the Australian National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and artistic director of the Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Festival, David Theak is a passionate advocate for big bands and has toured the world with his quartet, Theak-tet. He was recently shortlisted for UMO (Helsinki Jazz Orchestra) and WDR (West German Radio) Big Bands as a saxophonist. He has an upcoming Naxos Jazz project with German composer Florian Ross and strings in 2024.

As he pays tribute to the great tenor saxophonists of the swing era, and maybe even sings a song or two – these will be two very special evenings of vintage rhythms, sophisticated sounds, and timeless classics on 14 and 15 September.

On Friday 16 September David performs Swingin’ at St Stephen’s at St Stephen’s School Duncraig. This night of jazz classics features WAYJO’s MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, joined on stage by David Theak on saxophone with support from WAYJO’s Northern Corridor Band and the St Stephen’s Swing Band.

David said, “I can’t wait to swing with WAYJO in September….Australia’s most prominent youth big band, directed by a bunch of jazz legends…anytime I play with WAYJO, it’s a joyous occasion.”

WAYJO Artistic Director & Musical Director, Mace Francis, said “The MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra has members that have ‘graduated’ from the WAYJO Northern Corridor Band, so it’s very fitting for this performance to take place where they rehearse each week. Rehearsals are held in the big band format and are focused on jazz phrasing, articulation, and artistic expression as well as improvisational techniques and playing a wide range of musical genres including jazz, funk, and Latin charts.

“Alongside regular rehearsals are masterclasses, performance opportunities, collaborations and mentoring from guest artists both from Australia and abroad, WAAPA staff and experienced WAYJO Alumni. We are thrilled to welcome David to feature in this exciting performance.”

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm, Thursday 14 September -Fishtrap Theatre, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
MinterEllison MNO with David Theak
Click here for tickets

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm, Saturday 16 September – Downstairs at The Maj
MinterEllison MNO with David Theak
Click here for tickets

WAYJO presents Swingin’ at St Stephen’s, proudly supported by St Stephen’s School
7:30pm, Friday 15 September
St Stephen’s School Theatre, Duncraig
Click here for tickets

Art Music Awards Finalist

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra is proud to have been announced as a finalist in the prestigious Art Music Awards by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre. 

WAYJO is a finalist in the Art Music Awards
WAYJO is a finalist in the Art Music Awards.

The Art Music Awards celebrates individuals, groups and organisations in the Australian music community, recognising excellence among Australia’s finest creators and performers in contemporary classical, jazz, experimental music and sound art.

WAYJO was nominated for the Award for Excellence in Music Education for our 2022 Annual Pathways Programs.

Artistic Director Mace Francis, and winner of the WA Luminary Award in 2022, says of the nomination:

“We are very excited to be a finalist in the APRA/AMCOS and Australian Music Centre Art Music Awards this year. It is so nice to be recognised nationally for the great work we are doing here in WA, inspiring and encouraging young musicians work towards a future in this industry. We are very proud of our work and very proud of our Pathways leaders, Gemma Farrell and Jessica Herbert who are working so closely with the next generation of WA music stars.”

Congratulations to all of the nominees, and especially to our fellow West Australians Lachlan Skipworth and Jamie Oehlers.

The 2023 Art Music Awards will take place at Carriageworks on Tuesday 15 August 2023. See the full list of finalists.

Global Recognition: WAYJO band member and alumni head overseas

WAYJO always enjoys hearing the success stories of our band members, guest artists, and alumni, and so we are thrilled to share news from two former and current band members. 

Our Wednesday Night Orchestra lead alto, Holly Forster, has been accepted to go on exchange to the prestigious Frost School of Music in Miami this year! She’ll be following in the path of many of our great alumni who have studied there including Troy Roberts, Tim Jago, Daniel Susnjar, Jeremy Greig, Matt Smith, and Catherine Noblet. Holly is currently in her 3rd year of a Bachelor of Music studying jazz saxophone at WAAPA and has been a dedicated member of WAYJO since 2018.

Former WAYJO member and current Progressions tutor, bassist Kate Pass, has been awarded a scholarship to complete a Master of Music at The New School’s College of Performing Arts in New York, as part of the Performer-Composer program.

We wish Holly and Kate every success as they go abroad for further jazz education.

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.

Marty Pervan on Mambolicious

We sat down with Musical Director of the St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, Marty Pervan, to find out a little more about the Mambolicious Program.

‘Mambolicious: Jodrell Screams Puente’ features one of Australia’s greatest trumpet players, Mat Jodrell, and pays homage to influential Latin jazz pioneer, Tito Puente. Performing in Margaret River on 30 June at Margaret River HEART, and then in Perth at Milk Bar on 1 July, these concerts are guaranteed to have your feet tapping and hips shaking.

Marty Pervan with the St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra by Josh Wells

Why are you excited to collaborate with Mat Jodrell and what are you hoping he’ll bring to the St John of God Tuesday Night Orchestra?

Given that Mat is a WAYJO alumnus, this collaboration is an opportunity to reconnect on both a personal and musical level. The wealth of knowledge and experience that comes with a musician that has lived and worked professionally as a first-call jazz and session trumpet player in places like New York is informative and inspirational for the band members. After leaving Perth, Mat attended the Julliard School of Music, and this also brings a unique set of experiences that bend members who are also tertiary music students will find enlightening. I am confident the anecdotal element of Mat’s communication and engagement with the band will be just as invaluable as his musical contribution.

What are you looking forward to on the regional tour to Margaret River?

There are no amount of rehearsals that can simulate the positive musical effect of a tour. The shared experiences and time spent together allow the musicians to connect in a way that is impossible to imitate. The shows, workshops and rehearsals will all be great musical experiences that will create lifelong memories for the band members (and probably the staff too).

What do you love about Tito Puente’s works?

Tito Puente was my first introduction to Son/montuno (Salsa), Mambo, Guaguanco and Cha Cha – it is something for which I have had a lifelong passion. I enjoy educating the band members about this genre of music and the various musical elements that make it unique. It is consistently exciting to play and listen to. This is always evident in the expressions of awe and joy on the faces of the band as they are performing.

Is there anything else you can tell us about the Mambolicious program?

We will be performing some of Tito Puente’s most popular tunes that most audiences have heard of as well as a selection of other music from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Columbia, and New York.

“I will be immensely surprised if any of the audience isn’t up and dancing early in the performance.”

Other artists that we will be performing the music of include Cubanismo, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, the Buena Vista Social Club, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Poncho Sanchez, Matt Harris, and Mike Tomaro.

Experience Mambolicious: Jodrell Screams Puente
7:30pm, Friday 30 June | Margaret River HEART | TICKETS
7:30pm, Saturday 1 July | Milk Bar, Inglewood | TICKETS

Swing Into Our 40th Celebrations

Swing Into Our 40th Celebrations

WAYJO is turning 40 and we’re taking over the State Theatre Centre of WA to celebrate!

WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary celebrations are this weekend, 26 & 27 May, at the State Theatre Centre of WA.

We’re thrilled that Friday’s concert is now sold out, but tickets are still available for Saturday’s mini festival, featuring in-conversations, small group jazz ensembles, historic photo displays, alumni appearances, and big band performances.

Want to read more about the program? Seesaw Magazine previewed the Festival program and spoke to Mace, Jamie Oehlers and Libby Hammer, who’ll also both perform on Saturday, as well as Ben Franz of The Waifs about his time with WAYJO.

Book tickets to the 40th Anniversary Festival on Saturday 27 May at 4pm from the State Theatre Centre.

Mace Francis on WAYJO's 40th Anniversary Festival

WAYJO's 40th Anniversary Festival Program

Contribute To The Future Of Jazz In WA

Since 1983, we’ve been providing young musicians with opportunities to develop their skills and share their love of jazz with audiences across Australia and around the world.

Over the years, we’re proud to have seen countless talented musicians come through our doors and go on to achieve great things in the world of jazz and beyond. None of this would have been possible without the support of generous donors and supporters.

Our giving circle is again invited to contribute to the next 40 years of WAYJO by participating in an upcoming auction of three generously donated items and experiences. The auction will be held at a private event earlier on the evening of the 40th Anniversary Concert at the State Theatre Centre on Friday, May 26th. We are currently accepting pre-bids on all of these items. Anyone interested can contact WAYJO for information or to make a bid, which will automatically give you invitation to join us at the event and concert (please see auction reserve prices below).


Small Falls by Brendon Darby – Oil on Acrylic on Canvas, 121 x 121cm (126×126 framed)

The first item up for auction is a stunning painting of Karijini Falls in the Pilbara by renowned West Australian artist Brendon Darby. Brendon Darby will be present at the event, making it an excellent opportunity for art enthusiasts to meet the artist. Starting pre-bid for the painting is $6,000.

All proceeds from the auction will go to support WAYJO, as they do for the other two generously donated experiences up for grabs. The second item is a unique opportunity to secure your WAYJO big band of choice for your home party, event, or business function. You will be able to curate the details of the date and the band on a day following the auction. Depending on the space at your venue, you may also opt for a smaller ensemble. Stage and PA equipment and audio engineer are included in the package. Starting bid for this experience is $2,000.

The third item is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to curate your own spring-time wine and food experience with the Best Sommelier in Italy, Maurizio Dante Filippi, who will be in Australia for just a few months. You can choose to do a degustation of wines from your cellar privately or at a springtime dinner party, have Filippi host a tasting at your business event, or have him consult at your winery on your range and current productions. Please note that wines are not included, but Filippi can help you select wines and recommend food pairings. For pre-bids or enquiries, please feel free to contact us to discuss. Starting bid for this experience is $1,200.

Contributing to the future of WAYJO means becoming part of a community that supports the development of jazz in WA, encourages musical education, and offers extraordinary professional and artistic experiences to emerging and early career musicians.

You can also support WAYJO by sharing this post with anyone you think might be interested – friends, colleagues, perhaps your school is looking for artwork to hang, or with someone from your community, church, or sporting group? A pre-bid on any of these experiences will also secure an invitation to the VIP soirée event and 40th Anniversary Concert.

To register your interest or to make a pre-bid, please contact WAYJO.

Alternatively, if you would like to make a contribution to WAYJO of any amount, and reduce your end-of-year tax burden at the same time, visit our secure Private Giving page, and you will immediately receive a tax-deductible receipt.

Don’t hesitate to reach out with any inquiries, and thank you for your time, consideration, and support of WA’s leading youth jazz orchestra!

WAYJO's 40th Anniversary Concert & Festival

You’re invited to the jazz party of the year as WAYJO turns 40!

With thousands of events under its belt and a special place in many a WA musician’s hearts and memories, WAYJO is marking the occasion in style – bringing together Perth’s biggest jazz names alongside future stars of the Australian jazz scene for one special weekend at the State Theatre Centre’s Studio Underground and Foyer.

Join us as we celebrate WAYJO’s 40-year history and look towards the future of jazz!

40th Anniversary Concert

The celebrations begin with a Gala performance on Friday evening featuring WAYJO big bands alongside special guest alumni including Perth’s premier jazz vocalist, Libby Hammer, the versatile trombonist Catherine Noblet, the accomplished saxophonist Gemma Farrell, and the elegant vocalist Lucy Iffla.

On the big night, all three bands – MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, and Wednesday Night Orchestra – will take to the stage to perform commissioned works, band and fan favourites, and classic big band jazz repertoire.

WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary Concert
7:30pm, Friday 26 May
Studio Underground


40th Anniversary Festival

Then on Saturday, take a trip down memory lane and immerse yourself in our mini festival hub of in-conversations, small group jazz ensembles, historic photo displays, alumni appearances, and big band performances.

Be transported through time as all three big bands celebrate the greats playing classic big band jazz, music from the depths of the WAYJO library, and a line-up that traces jazz through to contemporary, translating be-bop to hip-hop.

With guest artists Jamie Oehlers, Libby Hammer, and Zero Emcee, this is an event not to be missed.

WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary Festival
4pm – 10pm, Saturday 27 May
Studio Underground


New Business and Development Manager

We’re delighted to announce that Emma Franz has joined the WAYJO team as our Business and Development Manager, as your go-to for all things partnership proposals and ongoing relations.

Emma Franz has a solid track record on both the practitioner and business sides of the arts, have started her career as a singer, pianist, and composer. She worked as a jazz singer and band leader in Australia and around the globe, before expanding her scope to non-fiction cinema in the roles of producer, director, writer, cinematographer, and editor on internationally acclaimed and award-winning feature projects, including the music films Intangible Asset Number 82 (Korea-Australia) and Bill Frisell, A Portrait (USA).

Her work in cinema as producer-director has been screened in some of the world’s most significant film festivals, had theatre runs in the USA and Korea, and been broadcast on Netflix, Amazon Prime, ABC Australia, NHK Japan, LinkTV USA, Sky Italy, YLE Finland, TV Catalunya, and others. Her invitation as a guest speaker includes the Lincoln Centre and Museum of the Moving Image NYC, the Smithsonian Museum Washington, and the National Film and Sound Archives Australia. Her roles have naturally encompassed contract supervision, project and operations management, financing, and partner development and relations.

Franz holds a master’s in interdisciplinary arts and has demonstrated a passionate commitment to communicating the intangible value of music and music creation. She brings that background – as well experience fronting the Moovin’ and Groovin’ Jazz Orchestra (pictured above) and B Sharp Big Band – to her work with WAYJO.

If you’d like to get in contact with Emma, you can send her an email, or phone the office on 08 9471 1950.