Tunes by Mace Francis
Mace Francis is establishing himself as predominant figure and advocate for original
Australian big band music. He moved to Perth, from Victoria, in 2000 to study jazz
composition and arranging under Graham Lyall and in 2004 graduated from WAAPA
with First Class Honours.
Since 2004, Mace’s focus on composition has awarded him the 2004 APRA
Professional Development Award, the international Italian composition prize
“Scrivere in Jazz”, three nominations for the WAMi Jazz Song of the Year and
numerous national and international commissions including PLONK!, a 40min work
featuring his own 14-piece Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO) plus woodwinds, french
horn and classical percussion.
MFO have recorded 5 CDs since forming in 2005, toured nationally four times (2006,
2008, 2010 & 2011), performed with international artists Jim Pugh (USA), Jon
Gordon (NY), John Hollenbeck (NY), Satoko Fujii (JAP), Theo Bleckmann (NY) and
Ed Partyka (Austria). In 2007 Mace was awarded the prestigious “Most Out-
Standing Individual Contribution to Jazz in WA” by the Perth Jazz Society.
In 2008 Mace was appointed lecturer in 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), Allen Vizzutti (USA),
Kristin Berardi (NSW), David Theak (NSW), Franck Tortillier (France), Jim McNeely
(USA), Ed Partyka (Austria), Sarah McKenzie (VIC), Mike Stewart (SA), Michelle
Nichole (VIC), Mat Jodrell (NY) and Ross Irwin (VIC).
2010 saw Mace form a new record label called “Listen/Hear Collective” with fellow
musician/composers Johannes Luebbers, Andrew Brooks and Daniel Thorne. He
was a finalist in the prestigious MCA Freedman Fellowship which was decided by a
performance at the Sydney Opera House in August.
In 2011 Mace recorded a new CD of original music with a New York based nonet and
also began a three year PhD degree in jazz composition at WAAPA under the
supervision of Dr Cat Hope.
This year sees Mace working with established contemporary dances Jo Pollitt and
Paea Leach, composing the soundscape to their show Quiet Beast as well as
pursuing his PhD research and work with WAYJO.