Mace Francis

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Tunes by Mace Francis


Mace Francis has established 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, graduating in 2004 from the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) with First Class Honours, and then in 2014 with a PhD of which he was awarded the Faculty Research Medal.

Since 2004, Mace’s focus on composition has awarded him the 2004 APRA Professional Development Award, the international Italian composition prize Scrivere in Jazz, a finalist in the 2010 Freedman Jazz Fellowship, the 2015 winner of the APRA AMCOS Art Music Award: Jazz Work of the Year, received the 2017 Prelude Gallop House 12-month residency and the 2022 APRA AMCOS State Luminary Award (WA) for excellence in Artistic Direction and Composition in WA.

His Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO) have recorded 10 albums since forming in 2005, toured nationally four times (2006, 2008, 2010 & 2011) and performed with international artists Jim Pugh (USA), Jon Gordon (NY), John Hollenbeck (NY), Satoko Fujii (JAP), Theo Bleckmann (NY), Jean-Baptiste Bridon (France) and Ed Partyka (Austria). In 2021 he formed Mace Francis Plus 11 and recorded the album Isolation Emancipation.

In 2008 Mace was appointed 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), Darcy James Argue (USA), Allen Vizzutti (USA), Kristin Berardi (NSW), David Theak (NSW), Franck Tortillier (France), Jim McNeely (USA), Ed Partyka (Austria), Darcy James Argue (USA), Dick Oatts (USA), Mike Abene (USA), Jim Rotondi (USA), Ed Neumeister (USA) Mike Stewart (SA), Michelle Nichole (VIC), Mat Jodrell (NY), Ross Irwin (VIC) and iOTA (NSW).

Since 2013 Mace has worked internationally as guest composer and conductor with l’Orcehstre des Jeunes Jazzmen de Bourgogne (France), the Graz Composers Ensemble (Austria), the Showa University of Music Big Band (Japan) the Satoko Fujii Tokyo Orchestra (Japan) and nationally with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Jazz Orchestra (NSW), ATM15 (VIC), The Bennetts Lane Big Band (VIC), the Enthusiastic Musicians Orchestra (QLD), The Con Artists (QLD), The Keyboard Warriors (WA), The SA Superbands and the West End Composers Collective (QLD).

In 2017 Mace was appointed the festival director of the Perth International Jazz Festival, where he has now delivered six festivals, including a regional expansion in 2021 and growth to a 10-day Perth festival in 2024. In 2023 Mace was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to undergo research of leading European jazz organisations to help both WAYJO and PIJF become greater national organisations.

In 2020 Mace formed the Australian National Jazz Orchestra Youth Big Band with co-artistic directors David Theak and Nadja Noordhuis. After a false start in 2020 the ANJO Youth Big Band performed for the first time in May 2021 at the Sydney Con International Jazz Fest with guest artist Will Vinson. 2022 saw performances in Sydney and at the Perth International Jazz Festival with composer Vanessa Perica and in 2024 they will be joined by New York saxophonist and composer Remy Le Boeuf.