The West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) launches its 2020 season, Homegrown, celebrating the depth of talent Australia has produced in the jazz scene, with a suite of Australian guest artists in an exciting program.

After a 2019 focus on the birthplace of jazz, the USA, featuring numerous sell-out performances, WAYJO brings a stunning array of Australian artists from interstate and abroad to perform with the company’s three 18-piece jazz big bands. As part of the Homegrown season, WAYJO have also commissioned a number of new compositions, presenting the World Premiere of nearly three hours of new music.

WAYJO recognises the importance of showcasing Australian musicians and the successes of over 35 years of WAYJO alumni on the Australian and international scenes. Our vision to “build the future of Australian jazz” is the cornerstone rationale behind the 2020 program, offering outstanding opportunities for young Western Australian musicians and providing WAYJO’s growing audience with fresh perspectives and experiences.

Homegrown kicks off with a tribute to one of Perth’s legendary and much missed venues, with Swinging at the Embassy Ballroom. From 1928 to 1982, the Embassy hosted many of Perth’s swinging jazz legends as well as artists from across the ocean, and WAYJO will remind nostalgic audiences of the music of those years on the main stage at His Majesty’s Theatre. Featuring all three of WAYJO’s big bands and guest vocalists Anita Wardell & Victoria Newton this will be a concert event for young and old alike.

Jazz at The Maj returns from May to October, featuring stunning concerts in the beautifully intimate Downstairs at The Maj. The season begins in May with WAYJO welcoming vocalist Kristin Berardi (Qld) in Polka Dots and Moonbeams. Kristin wowed Perthaudiences at the 2019 Perth International Jazz Festival with her sensuous voice and joins the WAYJO Tuesday Night Orchestra.

In June, WAYJO is proud to present a true legend of Australian jazz, pianist Judy Bailey (NSW) to perform My Favourite Things. A force of nature, Judy joins the WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra, Perth’s premiere big band in performing  new jazz composition, for two unmissable concerts.

July sees WAYJO debuting our first major commissions for 2020. WAYJO alumni Andrew Murray (Vic) joins Artistic Director Dr Mace Francis to present Come Together. For the first time, the WAYJO MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra will perform works composed specifically for this ensemble, a rare challenge for the most junior WAYJO band. However, with well-known music like The Beatles’ “Come Together” receiving a whole new jazz arrangement audiences are sure to be surprised and enchanted in this World Premiere event.

One of WAYJO’s recent success stories, Alana Macpherson, alumna and former WAYJO Assistant Music Director, joins WAYJO in September for the second major commission of the year, All or Nothing At All. Alana, 2018 WAM Award winner as Best Brass/String/Woodwind Instrumentalist, studies her Masters of Jazz Composition at the MUG University of Music and Performing Arts, Austria, and brings her saxophone and composing skills to bear with the Wednesday Night Orchestra.

Toshi Clinch (Vic) offers his unique arrangements of classic Hollywood films to WAYJO in October to close out the Jazz at The Maj season with A Golden Age of Jazz on Film. Following the success of WAYJO’s 2019 concerts, Jazz at the Movies, these reimagined works of Quincy Jones, John Williams and more will be a family favourite.

WAYJO’s guest artist program is proudly supported by the Minderoo Foundation in their second year of partnership with WAYJO.

Punctuating the Homegrown season will be the return of the King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival in 2020. Showcasing the depth of talent in Western Australia, over 50 performances by the state’s emerging and established jazz acts will feature across the three days of the Festival. From big band to smaller intimate ensembles and solo musicians, King Street Corner Pocket is the most accessible and fun way to see multiple acts in the same night in easy walking distance. WAYJO will also present The Debut Collection during the Festival, featuring commissioned works from the company’s Composer-in-Residence program. King Street Corner Pocket is supported by the City of Perth.

The sell-out Jazz for Juniors returns as part of WAYJO’s ongoing Act-Belong-Commit education program, which also features dedicated schools concerts Downstairs at The Maj, and South-West and Geraldton Regional Tours.

Homegrown continues WAYJO’s focus on supporting the growth of jazz in the State and furthering the representation of female artists, with five of the seven guest artists programmed outstanding women in the field.

WAYJO’s 2019 season saw continued audience growth, with the Jazz at the Maj season reaching 92% of ticketed capacity, a 10% increase in audiences at Corner Pocket, and box office targets exceeded by 12%.

WAYJO is the small company that has WA’s arts community buzzing, with an exciting 2020 on the horizon.

 

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WAYJO 2020 Season Overview

His Majesty’s Theatre
Swinging at the Embassy Ballroom
Featuring Anita Wardell and Victoria Newton
March 27

Downstairs at The Maj
“Jazz at The Maj”

Polka Dots and Moonbeams
Featuring Kristin Berardi
May 1 & 2

My Favourite Things
Featuring Judy Bailey
June 5 & 6

Come Together (World Premiere)
Featuring Andrew Murray and Mace Francis
July 3 & 4

All or Nothing At All
Featuring Alana Macpherson
September 4 & 5

A Golden Age of Jazz on Film
Featuring Toshi Clinch
October 2 & 3

Jazz for Juniors
April 14-15, July 7-8, September 29-30

King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival
Various Venues around King and Hay Streets, Perth – July 30 to August 1

 

WAYJO 2020 Sponsors

Government Partner Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries & Lotterywest

Principal Partner North West Shelf Gas

Guest Artist Partner The Minderoo Foundation

Education and Regional Tour Partner Healthway

Naming Rights Partner Monday Night Orchestra MinterEllison

Major Partner St John of God Health Care

Offical Partner Gerard Daniels

Hotel Partner InterContinental City Centre Perth

Festival Partner City of Perth

Venue Partners His Majesty’s TheatreWest Australian Academy of Performing Arts

Supporting Partners Minuteman Press Perth, City of Perth Parking, ActivITRTR FM 92.1

 

Media Contact

Simon Keen, WAYJO General Manager
simon.keen@wayjo.com
0407 990 483