PhD student – Winner of the National Jazz Awards


pic -helias gig - frankie d

The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music would like congratulate current music student (PhD) Joe O’Conner on winning Australia’s most prestigious jazz instrumental competition, the National Jazz Awards at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.

Joe recieved a $10,000 cash prize as well as invitation to record in the ABC studios for ABC Classic FM’s ‘Jazztrack With Mal Stanley’, and to perform in the 2014 Stonnington Jazz festival.


Joe has had compositions performed by Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, The Enthusiastic Musicians Orchestra (EMO), the Abbreviations Orchestra, the Queensland Conservatorium Con-Artists, the Menard Ensemble (chamber choir), Alchemy String Quartet and numerous self directed jazz ensembles. His original composition Rationalisations was the winning entry in the 2011 National Big Band Composition Competition and was performed by Sydney’s Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra in the final round. Joseph was also a finalist in this competition in 2009 for his composition Prelude and Afterthought.

Joe is undertaking a PhD in musical performance at Monash University and is researching ways that Ruth Crawford Seeger’s approach to dissonant counterpoint can inform jazz composition and improvisation. He is currently developing new music for jazz piano trio and quintet, and will co-direct the second incarnation of the Bennett’s Lane Big Band with saxophonist Tom Noonan commencing in 2014.