The Modern Masters

Did you know that big band music has continued to evolve and push boundaries from the Golden Age of Swing?

Composers such as Bill Holman, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim McNeely and Maria Schneider have used big band instrumentation to create some of the most creative and exciting jazz in recent decades.

The Wednesday Night Orchestra will be joined by Perth’s very own modern master on tenor saxophone, Dr Jamie Oehlers (WAYJO member 1987-93).

Join WAYJO for this special night, also premiering 2021 WAYJO Composer in Residence works by Brendan Keller-Tuberg (ACT) and Reece Clark (WA).

Jamie appears thanks to WAYJO’s 2021 Major Programs Partner, Minderoo Foundation.

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Kate Pass Kohesia Ensemble

Let WAYJO Take You on a Sonic Persian Carpet Ride in July

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) hits The Rechabite Hall, Saturday 10th July, with exciting newly commissioned works featuring special guests Kate Pass & the Kohesia Ensemble.

Blending jazz & Persian musical influences, Kate Pass has created something new, refreshing & very exciting. Kohesia Ensemble bring elements of the Persian Dastgah musical system in a special night of cross-cultural collaboration & freshly commissioned work simply not to be missed.

Kate Pass – Kohesia & the Far East Suite will explore non-western time structures and microtonal melodies, combining the sounds of Persian flute (ney), percussion (daf), lute (saz) and oud with 18-piece jazz orchestra for a truly unique experience.

WAYJO are proud to have commissioned Kate (WAYJO member 2009/10 & 2014), to now expand her ideas for big band with the Wednesday Night Orchestra (WNO).

I’m really excited to collaborate with Wednesday Night orchestra on this project” says Kate. “Being an alumni WAYJO band member myself, it’s truly an honour to be commissioned to write for the band.

The program will feature several members of Kohesia Ensemble, including Esfandiar Shahmir on ney, Reza Mirzaei on saz, and Mike Zolker on oud.

I think this is the first time this combination of instruments has been joined by a big band, so it’s an incredible opportunity to create something new and unique. It’s also an opportunity for the members of Kohesia ensemble and myself to explore a different tonal palette.

The instruments of Wednesday Night Orchestra provide a wonderful variety of colours and textures, that allow us to re-imagine the Kohesia Ensemble sound, and expand upon our ideas in a way we haven’t done before.”

Tickets for this show are on sale through Humanitix, a registered charity offering 100% of profits from booking fees towards education programs for Young Girls, and scholarships for Indigenous Australians… yet another great reason to see this show.

Kate and the Kohesia Ensemble appear thanks to WAYJO’s 2021 Major Programs Partner, Minderoo Foundation.

WAYJO presents Kate Pass: Kohesia & the Far East Suite
Sat 10 Jul, 7.30pm
WAYJO WNO, with special guests Kate Pass and the Kohesia Ensemble
The Rechabite, Northbridge | Tickets

Hashtags: #WAYJO2021 #RechabiteJazz #KatePassKohesia

Media Contact:
Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

Photo of Kohesia Enemble by Josh Wells

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Kate Pass Kohesia & the Far East Suite

2021 WAYJO Composer Residencies Announced

Now in its 14th 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's Composer Residencies were chosen from a very competitive field of emerging composers from all over the country. The decision was extremely difficult this year, with so much exceptionally well written and creative music submitted for the panel to assess.

Congratulations to WAYJO 2021 Composer in Residence recipients Brendan Keller-Tuberg (ACT) and Reece Clark (WA).

Both composers will bring fresh and creative perspectives to their commissions, which you can hear premiered by the WAYJO WNO at The Modern Masters concert, with special guest Jamie Oehlers, Friday 22 October at Lyric Lane.

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

WAYJO 2021 Composers in Residence


Mace Francis
WAYJO Artistic Director
+61 8 9471 1950

Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

Classic, Contemporary & Commissioned Jazz in June

WAYJO are back with Jazz at The Maj, presenting Basie & Beyond – A Journey Through Jazz Downstairs at The Maj 11-12 June.

Let WAYJO take you on a bold jazz journey from Basie and into the big band beyond! Enjoy classic jazz repertoire, artfully paired with reinvented contemporary standards, presented by the WAYJO MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra (MNO). The second half features the Wednesday Night Orchestra (WNO) premiering exciting new works by WAYJO alumni Alana Macpherson, commissioned by the Minderoo Foundation.

WNO bring to life a set of all new music by the Downbeat award-winning composer and arranger. The music, inspired by the composer’s reflections on Australia, was composed during several lockdowns in Europe throughout 2020. This is a unique opportunity to see Alana Macpherson in action shaping the music that was composed specifically for the orchestra.

Alana is a Perth born is a saxophonist and composer currently based in Graz, Austria. Following the 2019 release of her debut album “All or Nothing At All”, Macpherson won the Downbeat Student Music Award for Large Ensemble Arrangement, as well as the 2018 WAM awards for “Best Brass/Woodwind/Strings Instrumentalist” and “Best Live Jazz Act”. She has toured with Emil Spanyi (Hungary), performed with the Vine Street Horns (Phil Collins), KUG Jazz Orchestra, Graz Composer’s Orchestra, James Morrison Big Band, and the Evan Sherman Big Band, among others. Macpherson has performed her works at the Perth International Jazz Festival, King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival, and Jazzwerkstatt Festival (Austria).

There’s something for all contemporary and jazz music fans in this bold big band program simply not to be missed.

Tickets to all Jazz at The Maj shows, including the The Golden Age of Swing in August, are available from

Alana appears thanks to WAYJO’s 2021 Major Programs Partner, Minderoo Foundation.

What people are saying about Alana’s Music;
“Alana is not only is an excellent saxophone player, but she is finding her own unique voice as a composer, arranger and band-leader. She’s a fan of Bob Brookmeyer’s music and you can hear a clear continuation of his concepts in her writing.” – Ed Partyka 2019

Hashtags: #WAYJO2021 #JazzAtTheMaj #BasieAndBeyond

Act Belong Commit Jazz at The Maj for Schools

Students and teachers may also enjoy a special 1-hour school concert-workshop with Alana, Friday 11 June, 3.00pm.
School workshops are great value at just $15 (+bf) per student or teacher/parent – plus you receive 1 complimentary ticket per 9 purchased. School bookings can only be made by calling Perth Theatre Trust group bookings on 6212 9291, or email

Hashtags: #WAYJO2021 #ActBelongCommit #JazzSchool #BasieAndBeyond

Media Contact:
Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

Photos by Simon Reithofer, Reithofer Media

2021 WAYJO Composer Residencies Open

2021 WAYJO Composer Residencies Open

Since its launch in 2008, the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) Composer in Residence program has commissioned new frontiers in jazz ensemble works from emerging Australian composers.

Annually offering young writers generous commissions and artistic mentorship to develop fresh jazz works for new audiences, while enhancing arranging and conducting skills, WAYJO supports two emerging composers to develop works, between 6-8 minutes in length, for 18-piece big band.

The $2K Associate and $4k Composer residency programs are run under the guidance of WAYJO’s Artistic Director, Dr Mace Francis (winner – 2015 APRA/AMCOS Jazz Work of the Year and international Scrivere in Jazz prize; finalist – Freedman Jazz Fellowship; 2017 Prelude Gallop House Composer Residency).

“The opportunity to write for a regularly rehearsing big band is one that does not come along too often” states Dr Mace Francis. “It allows you to write with courage and try bold and challenging ideas. Each of the young composers who have participated in this program have gone on to create great bands, recordings, and contributed their voice to the Australian jazz scene.”

This is a rare opportunity for composers to create new music for a big band without major creative restrictions or boundaries. Forward thinking, creative ways in which to utilise a big band’s instrumentation, personnel and skills (as largely doubling instrumentalists), are all openly encouraged to help the art form move forward.

Previous recipients around Australia include Rafael Karlen (QLD), Alice Humphries (WA), Jenna Cave (NSW), Andrew Murray (VIC), Brodie McAllister (QLD), Elliott Hughes (VIC), Tim Newhouse (WA), Rafael Jerjen (NSW), Joshua Hatcher (QLD), Scott van Gemert (VIC), and Des Cannings (NSW).

Applications open 9.00am Monday 8 March, 2021 - and close Friday 30 April, 2021 at 5.00pm AWST.

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


Jazz Under the Stars 2020 - SOLD OUT


WAYJO returns to the beautiful Quarry Amphitheatre to celebrate the joy of live jazz under the vast WA sky.

Treat yourself to three big bands, showcasing all their favourite repertoire from classic big band jazz through to newly commissioned works from Australian composers Andrew Murray, Mace Francis, and WAYJO’s 2020 composer in residence Des Cannings.

Bring a picnic and enjoy a feast of jazz new and old, under the stars for one night only!

WAYJO presents Jazz Under the Stars
with the WAYJO MinterEllison Monday Night, plus Tuesday & Wednesday Night Orchestras
Fri 27 Nov, 7.30pm
The Quarry Amphitheatre, City Beach
Limited Tickets only from Trybooking

$55.00 Standard
$45.00 Pensioner
$50.00 Seniors
$15.00 Child (Under 15)
$25.00 Student
$125.00 Family (Good for 4)

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Linda May Han Oh - Bass

Linda May Han Oh with the WAYJO WNO - Perth International Jazz Festival 2020

International bass player Linda May Han Oh returns from the US to perform with WAYJO for one night only.

Departing Perth 15 years ago, Linda has toured and performed with the biggest names in jazz, most notably as the current member of the Pat Metheny Quartet.

Linda performs newly commissioned music for the WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra, a band she used to perform in with current musical director Mace Francis. WAYJO is very proud to present this special night of new works, and to be performing with Linda again.

Linda May Han Oh will be performing thanks to WAYJO’s 2020 Guest Artist Partner, the Minderoo Foundation.

Linda May Han Oh
with the WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra, directed by Dr Mace Francis
Sunday 8 Nov, 4.00pm
The Rechabite (Main Hall), Northbridge
Limited tickets only from Moshtix

$27.49 Standard
$22.39 Concession

Receive a 15% discount when purchasing 3 PIJF performances at The Rechabite in one transaction

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Linda May Han Oh - Bass

'Oh So Exciting' New Works presented by WAYJO at Perth International Jazz Festival 2020

The WAYJO MinterEllison Monday, plus Tuesday & Wednesday Night Orchestras, are proud to be part of the eight annual Perth International Jazz Festival (PIJF).

Enjoy free community concerts in Hyde Park with WAYJO MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra Sun 8 Nov, 2.45pm, and WAYJO Tuesday Night Orchestra, 4.00pm.

On her temporary return from the US, the Wednesday Night Orchestra are thrilled to perform with none other than highly acclaimed international bass player, and WAYJO alumni, Linda May Han Oh - currently of Pat Metheny Quartet.

Linda performs her newly composed works for the WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra at The Rechabite Sun 8 Nov, 4.00pm. Linda appears thanks to WAYJO’s 2020 Guest Artist Partner, the Minderoo Foundation. Tickets for this show are available from Moshtix.

PIJF 2020 runs 6-8 November. Head to for the full program and ticketing, and while you're there, consider saving with a 3-Show Pass for ticketed events booked in a single online transaction.

#perthjazzfest #WAYJO2020

WAYJO presents Jazz New and Old Under the Stars

Mining fresh new Australian jazz at The Quarry

Perth’s own WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) return to the beautiful Quarry Amphitheatre with Jazz Under the Stars, Friday 27 November from 7.30pm.

Jazz Under the Stars showcases classic big band jazz, right through to new Australian offerings by Andrew Murray, Mace Francis, and WAYJO’s 2020 Composer in Residence Des Cannings.

In a year mired by venue closures and physical isolation from March, WAYJO re-emerged with group rehearsals in July, and continued producing new Australian jazz works through its 13th annual Composer in Residence program.

Fresh from two sell-out shows at His Majesty’s Theatre, Ricki Malet leads the WAYJO MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, who give big band classics from the 1930s to the 60s an all new energy.

The Tuesday Night Orchestra, led by Marty Pervan, received a glowing review of their first Lyric Lane show in September. This band presents an upbeat selection of jazz, blues and Latin classics to get toes tapping.

Mace Francis introduces brave new works with the Wednesday Night Orchestra. Originally scheduled to premiere at the King St Corner Pocket Jazz Festival, which was cancelled due to the pandemic, WAYJO’s 2020 composer in Residence commission now premieres for audiences under the stars.

Whether a jazz-head or new to the genre, experience something for just about any taste at Jazz Under the Stars. Bring a picnic and enjoy a feast of jazz new and old, with three big bands on stage for one night only.

Head to for WAYJO's events calendar and bookings. Don’t delay, as tickets are still limited.


WAYJO presents Jazz Under the Stars 2020 - Fri 27 Nov, 2020
Poster Photograph Rick Mason (Jazz Under the Stars 2019), Design Justine Thornley.


CANCELLED - All or Nothing At All - Alana Macpherson

PLEASE NOTE: In response to COVID-19 restrictions, WAYJO sadly announce cancellation of this show.

Ticket holders for the show will receive a full refund from Perth Theatre Trust.
If you can, please consider a ticket refund or other donation to WAYJO at

Full statement:

We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and hope to see you at another WAYJO performance in the near future.

* A World Premiere, commissioned by WAYJO *

WAYJO are proud to welcome home to Perth saxophonist and composer Alana Macpherson, leading the Wednesday Night Orchestra from the front of the band.

Her new music draws on influences from her recent composition study in Austria, under WAYJO favourite Ed Partyka, and living in Europe.

Alana’s music is powerful, emotional and full of heart. Join us to celebrate the triumphant return of one of WAYJO’s recent success stories.

Alana visits us from Austria thanks to WAYJO’s 2020 Guest Artist Partner, the Minderoo Foundation
Photograph of Alana by Simon Reithofer

WAYJO presents All or Nothing At All  
featuring saxophonist Alana Macpherson and the WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra
Fri 4 & Sat 5 September, 7.30pm
Downstairs at The Maj | His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth
Tickets from Perth Theatre Trust