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Jenna Cave : Represented Artist

Jenna Cave composer and arranger, bandleader and conductor, and saxophonist and vocalist. She composes music for large and small jazz ensembles with varying degrees of improvisation, as well as fully notated chamber music and songs. She performs her own music as a jazz saxophonist and vocalist, and free improvised music.

Random Audio Sample: Flash in the pan (big band with soloist) by Jenna Cave, from the CD opening statement

Photo of Jenna Cave

Photo: Frank Crews

Jenna Cave (b. 1984) is an Australian composer and arranger, bandleader and conductor, and saxophonist and vocalist who is most known for her large ensemble contemporary jazz music. Her music has been performed, broadcast and warmly reviewed around Australia and internationally.

She has co-led the 18-piece Divergence Jazz Orchestra as resident composer, conductor and co-leader since 2012. Recently formed ensembles include improvised duo For This Moment with Keyna Wilkins and The Truth Seekers; a new originals quintet with Hannah James, Andrew Scott, Will Gilbert and Mike Quigley. Cave works with other jazz orchestras and ensembles around Australia as guest musical director and commissioned composer/arranger. She teaches saxophone and jazz ensemble performance in Sydney.

Cave began her professional musical life as a young jazz saxophonist in Canberra, where she studied saxophone with John Mackey and jazz arranging and composition with Miroslav Bukovsky at the ANU School of Music, graduating in 2006 with first class honours. She was awarded the Peter and Lena Karmel Memorial Prize and Bernhard Neumann Memorial Prize for the most outstanding graduate of the ANU School of Music that year. Cave moved to Sydney in 2008 to study a Master of Music (composition) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Bill Motzing, and was the recipient of a two-year University of Sydney Postgraduate Award Scholarship.

In 2012 Divergence Jazz Orchestra was formed in by Cave with Paul Weber (trombone) as a vehicle to perform and record her own music alongside music by other contemporary Australian composers. In six years they have performed over 20 shows of original Australian music under Cave's direction. Cave produced their two albums, The Opening Statement (2013) featuring her works, and Fake it Until You Make It (2016); featuring her works alongside those of composing colleagues. The albums have been reviewed and broadcast in Australia and abroad, both receiving glowing 4-star reviews in The Australian and on international jazz blog All About Jazz.

Featuring music by 17 composers to date, Divergence have performed at major Australian jazz festivals (Capital Jazz Project Canberra and Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival), underground venues, in concert series, and have produced many of their own shows. They have collaborated with Australian jazz luminaries Judy Bailey, Miroslav Bukovsky and Paul Cutlan; showcased the music of emerging and younger musicians such as Rafael Karlen and Michael Griffin, and shone a light on the outstanding improvisational and compositional talents within the orchestra.

Cave has been commissioned to write music for live performance by jazz festivals and ensembles including: two works for the 2016 Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival for 10-piece ensemble(featuring Sandy Evans), and a piece for sextet (featuring Norwegian saxophonist Froy Aagre and pianist Andrea Keller and Shannon Barnett) for the 2010 Melbourne International Women's Jazz Festival. Cave was the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra in composer-in-residence 2011 which involved a commission for three new works.

In September 2017 she was the guest composer and musical director with the Melbourne Composer's Big Band, who performed a two-set concert of her music, as well as the Dan McLean Big Band who she conducted in performance at the Australian National University in October 2017, playing her arrangements.

In 2016 Cave' chamber works String Quartet no. 1 and its adaptation Trilogy for Strings were performed internationally in NYC by the Yates String quartet (directed by Ron Wasserman) and in Saint Petersburg by string orchestra Warm and Peace (conducted by Hoshimi Sakai). She has also been commissioned to compose for the screen, including the score and songs for a short musical Blackbuster, broadcast on ABC TV and screened at the 2012 Sydney International Film Festival. In 2015 Cave was awarded full composer representation with the Australian Music Centre.


"Cave has established herself as a top-level composer, arranger and conductor in contemporary Australian jazz." (John Mcbeath, The Australian)

"Cave writes with depth and maturity well beyond her years." (Jack Bowers, All About Jazz, USA)

"This [Cave's music] is virtuoso horn writing." (John Hardaker, Australian Jazz.Net)

Jenna Cave — current to May 2018

Studied with

William Motzing


Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2010 Sprogis Woods Jazz Composition Competition Runner Up Dear Miss Upstill

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Chasing Sound (large jazz ensemble with vocalist) (2016) Commissioned by the 2016 Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival
Long-Lost Frenemy : large jazz ensemble (2016) Commissioned by the 2016 Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival.
Digital sheet music sample Long-Lost Frenemy : big band (2016) Commissioned by the 2016 Sydney International Jazz Festival.
Mrs Party Pants : big band (2016) Commissioned by Graham and Jenny Cook
The opening statement : big band (2011) This was one of three works Jenna Cave composed on commission as the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra Composer-in-residence.
Jazz euphoria on Frenchmen Street : for jazz big band (2011) This piece was commissioned by WAYJO (the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra) as a part of Jenna Cave's role as WAYJO's 2011 composer-in-residence.

Analysis & Media

- Video: Jazz euphoria on Frenchmen street

- Video: Dear Miss Upstill