Headliners announced for Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival 2022

Musicians from around the world will gather in Sydney for SIMA’s annual celebration of women in jazz. Now in its 11th year, the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival continues to showcase some of the most talented, inspiring and creative female musicians from home and abroad.

Headlining the 2022 festival are Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana (Blue Note), Finnish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla (ECM Records), Guguyelandji and Woppaburra wife Marlene Cummins, and world-renowned pianist Andrea Keller from Melbourne/ Naarm.

Week one’s musical adventures will take place at one central hub – the vibrant Seymour Center in Chippendale. The York Theater will host the headliners, with opening performers from 7.30pm – while a late-night festival club with live music will occupy the foyer. A curated program of additional festival events at clubs and venues across Sydney will be announced in mid-September.

Melissa Aldana Quartet

The York Theater – Thursday, October 27

Fiery Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana and her quartet will kick off the festival, performing her Blue Note debut album ’12 Stars’. Melissa is currently one of the leading figures in the tenor world – she is a storyteller and improviser with a deeply meditative take on the language of jazz. The album firmly captures his “bold harmonies and gripping solos” – Jazzwise.

A special guest opening performance by Jo Lawry & Dan Tepfer is guaranteed to be rich in playfulness, virtuosity, deep connection and surprises.

Marloo’s Blues by Marlene Cummins

The York Theater – Friday 28th October

In this world premiere, proud Guguyelandji and Woppaburra’s wife, Marlene Cummins, tell the musical story of Australia‘s First Nations jazz and blues artists of the 1950s and 60s – a story of vulnerability, strength and survival. This world premiere will talk about their shared experiences before and after the Indigenous rights movement. She will celebrate these pioneering artists, such as legendary blues women Big Mama Thornton and Bessie Smith through her music and stories.

Marloo’s Blues will kick off with a special performance by SHAMIN, an experimental jazz duo based in Brisbane/Meanjin, consisting of Sophie Min and Benjamin Shannon.

Suomi Suite by Iro Haarla & Jonathan Zwartz

The York Theater – Saturday 29 October

To celebrate the extraordinary Finnish ECM artist, harpist, pianist and composer Iro Haarla, SIMA has invited composer Jonathan Zwartz to write a new musical suite. Suite Suomi is an exploration of their vast and diverse landscapes, while finding commonalities through elementary language. From the enormity of the Northern Lights to the sound of the wind blowing through the eucalyptus trees, Suite Suomi is sure to be a beautiful and evocative musical journey.

Internationally renowned percussionist Claire Edwardes will open the evening with her solo performance Rhythms of Change.

Andrea Keller Trio & Strings

Pier 2/3, Aco – Thursday, November 3

Melbourne’s Andrea Keller Trio will be joined by a string section at Pier 2/3, ACO, as the acclaimed pianist and composer will create new trio compositions with saxophonist John Mackey and trumpeter Miroslav Bukovsky. The music creates expressive landscapes through lush harmonies, fluid movement between pulse, rubato and tempo changes, and nuanced melodies – sometimes passionate, sometimes understated.

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