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, nomination for two Australian Jazz Bell Awards (2013 & 2016), the 2015 winner of the APRA AMCOS Art Music Award: Jazz Work of the Year and received the 2017 Prelude Gallop House 12-month residency.

His Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO) have recorded 8 CDs 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 lecturer in jazz 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), 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) 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 four festivals, including a regional expansion in 2021. 2022 will be the tenth anniversary of the festival. 2021 also saw him appointed as the Jazz Program Associate for the York Festival in WA’s wheatbelt region.