The Sydney Con International Jazz Festival was formed in 2017 with Australian jazz at its core. Artistic Director and Head of the Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Studies Program, David Theak, a tireless advocate for jazz in Australia, has again made education a central component to this year’s program.
Thrilled with the response to the 2017 and 2018 festivals, which celebrated the very best international, national and local music, programming for 2019 will embody the same principles.
The 2019 program is inclusive, diverse and unique featuring over 100 musicians in 20 master-classes and concerts.
International artists include US icons, Bill Frisell Trio, Bill is considered “the most innovative and influential jazz guitarist of the past 25 years” Wall Street Journal, along with Billy Childs Quartet, the five time GRAMMY winning piano virtuoso and prolific composer, plus award winning Italian pianist Vittorio Mezza performing with the Mark Ginbsurg Ensemble, featuring Bel a cappella, a Sydney based chorus directed by Anthony Pasquill. The Convergence album features Bel a cappella on a number of its most popular tracks.
In the third annual SCIJF, this year presented in association with the Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA), International artists will be collaborating with Australian musicians, rarely-heard national ensembles of excellence, cutting-edge Sydney artists and dynamic artists of tomorrow mentored by our top jazz musicians.
Nestled in the Royal Botanic Gardens on the spectacular Sydney Harbour, this year’s festival will take advantage of world-class performance facilities of the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music.
With the exception of vocal support, Theak has taken an “acoustic performance philosophy” by selecting artists who perform without amplification so audiences can enjoy the music as it was designed it to be heard.
“The beautiful acoustics of the Conservatorium’s concert halls respond superbly to acoustic instruments and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive from last year’s patrons” says Theak.
The University’s Conservatorium of Music’s jazz program is one of the most highly regarded in Australia and overseas. Students work alongside some of Australia’s best-known jazz musicians and composers, and are trained in improvisation, ensemble playing and repertoire development. Classes in jazz music business skills prepare graduates for the non-musical aspects of their career.
The program includes four big bands and 12 small ensembles, with many opportunities for performance at the Con and at jazz festivals. In 2018, the University launched a revamped Bachelor of Music to include a new program in Improvised Music focused on research-based improvisation, including but not limited to the jazz tradition.