03 March 2015

James Morrison Academy at UniSA in Mount GambierToday Premier Jay Weatherill will officially open the James Morrison Academy of Music @UniSA in Mount Gambier, making the South Australian city a genuine international centre for studying Jazz. 

The launch event takes place at James Morrison Academy @UniSA in Commercial Street, Mount Gambier at 10am. 

The Academy, led by prominent Australian Jazz musician James Morrison, AM, has attracted top teachers and students from Australia and overseas for its first year. 

Its teaching team will feature as ‘artist in residence’, Grammy-nominated American Saxophonist Jeff Clayton, known for his playing with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. 

Australian arranger and educator Graeme Lyall, AM, will lead the faculty, supported by Perth-born trumpeter Mat Jodrell - who is returning to Australia from the United States to take up the post - as well as guest musicians from the US, UK and Europe. 

James Morrison Ahead of the launch James Morrison, who will teach all students at the academy, said he had high ambitions for the school. 

“Our focus is on the experience of the musician while they are making music, rather than more traditional theory-based learning,” Morrison said. 

“I’ve seen the stunning results of this approach over the last 30 years. I’m confident that we can create the Southern Hemisphere’s best jazz school, and make a lot of great music along the way.” 

The Academy is a partnership with the University of South Australia, where all of its students will be enrolled, and it received critical seed funding of $500,000 from the South Australian Government. 

The James Morrison Academy of Music @UniSA will offer a Diploma and Associate Degree in Music in the first year and begin offering a full Bachelor of Music in 2016. 

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said he was proud to be part of such an exciting development in music education. 

“The Academy partnership is going to play a central role in helping young people who love music realise their talents and ambitions and that is vital for the continued vibrancy of arts education in Australia,” Prof Lloyd said. 

“To be able to study under the tutelage of a great musician like James Morrison and others who are renowned internationally for their talent, creativity and expertise is an exceptional opportunity and we are delighted to be supporting that.” 

Premier Weatherill stressed the benefits of the new academy for South Australia. 

“The South Australian Government’s pleased to have contributed $500,000 to this Academy, which will see Mount Gambier become known as Australia’s leading destination for jazz musicians wanting to hone their craft,” Weatherill said. 

“Through the Generations in Jazz Festival and this Academy, James Morrison is helping Mount Gambier’s musical reputation – both locally and abroad - soar to new heights.” 

The Academy will welcome 50 students to Mount Gambier from today, all living and playing together in what has been called a ‘hothouse’ jazz community. 

The course will focus primarily on playing and listening to jazz collectively in the classroom, alongside the necessary theory and technical practice. 

The Academy will produce its own touring band, and students will also be encouraged to travel to nearby Melbourne and Adelaide to play professional gigs at the weekends. 

Student Callum Unger said he had chosen to study at the Academy because it is set to be the best place to learn about jazz. 

“I’ve chosen to come to the James Morrison Academy because it will be the best place to study jazz in Australia from day one – the courses are innovative and the facilities a great but the greatest drawcard are the international star teachers," he said.

Students will be coming to the Academy in its first year from as far afield as the United States and will range in age from 17 to 44. The course aims to grow to about 75 students a year over the next three years. 

For the past 30 years Mount Gambier has been home to the successful ‘Generations in Jazz’ festival event, in which more than 3,500 school pupils from around Australia have gathered to hear international artists and compete in the Stage Band Awards and for individual scholarships. 

Some of the first students to attend the new James Morrison Academy @UniSA are alumni of the previous one-year Generations in Jazz academy program. 

And for past alumnus, Jack Heaven, the evolution of the academy is more than exciting. 

“The best in the world are coming to us right here in Mount Gambier,” Heaven said. 

“Jazz has got a new home”. 


Media contacts:

James Morrison Academy @UniSA: Alexie Jell (Executive Director) +61 (0)408 302 632 

UniSA: Michèle Nardelli office: +61 8 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au 




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