Take Note

The Take Note initiative is supported by the Harry Kestin Foundation, the Robert Salzer Foundation, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Monash University, Four Winds Concerts Inc., and ABC Jazz.

Artist development and gender equity initiative

Now in its fifth year, Take Note is a program that addresses the underrepresentation of women and gender diverse musicians in jazz by celebrating and promoting women and gender diverse leaders on stage and in high schools across Victoria.

Introducing MIJF’s 2023 Take Note Jazz Leader

MIJF is proud to announce: innovative Melbourne-based composer and saxophonist Cheryl Durongpisitkul has been selected to lead the Festival’s Take Note program in 2023.

Cheryl is a talented composer and saxophonist known for her innovative style and ability to weave captivating narratives through her work. Cheryl released her debut album, Follow Me Through The Red Ash, in 2017 to critical acclaim. She co-leads the JazzLab Orchestra and has released two albums, Menagerie (2018) and Pink Milk (2021) with collaborative trio Koi Kingdom.

Cheryl is a dynamic artist in the Australian jazz landscape, dedicated to pushing boundaries in jazz and contemporary music performance and composition. She has attended the prestigious Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music and participated in masterclasses with New York-based record label New Amsterdam. She received the SIMA Young Composer Award in 2019 and premiered her work Critical Point at the Sydney Women’s Jazz Festival and was nominated for the Freedman Jazz Fellowship in 2020. She has also received commissions from the Monash Art Ensemble (A Pinky Promise, 2022 premiere as part of Melbourne International Jazz Festival) and Homophonic (In Full Splendour, 2023 premiere as part of Midsumma Festival).

Cheryl says of her role as MIJF’s 2023 Take Note Jazz Leader:

“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to be named the Take Note leader in 2023. Being awarded Take Note will give me the opportunity to compose my next large-scale work – a deeply personal project that has been percolating over the last 3 years.

“Cultivating diverse spaces within our community is a passion of mine and I am excited to be working with the Melbourne International Jazz Festival to carve out more opportunities for those that may not fit the status quo. I look forward to working with and empowering students to create music in safe and inclusive spaces in the hope of developing a place where they all feel they can belong within their own communities.”

As the 2023 Jazz Leader, Cheryl will receive a $5,000 cash bursary to support the development of a commissioned work to premiere at the 2023 Melbourne International Jazz Festival and a 5-day residency at Four Winds (Bermagui, NSW). She will also undertake a dedicated Victorian high school tour, leading improvisation workshops and inspiring the next generation of Australian jazz.

“We are thrilled to have Cheryl Durongpisitkul as our Take Note program leader for 2023. Her talents as a saxophonist, composer and emerging leader are extraordinary and she exemplifies everything that MIJF’s Take Note initiative is about.” says Melbourne International Jazz Festival’s CEO and Program Director, Hadley Agrez. “It not only excites me to see what Cheryl presents for the festival in October, but also the impact she will have on the next generation of jazz, and the important relationships she will develop throughout the year.”


About Take Note

Gender equity and artist development initiative

Now in its fifth year, Take Note is a program that addresses the underrepresentation of women and gender diverse musicians in jazz by celebrating and promoting women and gender diverse leaders on stage and in high schools across Victoria.

We believe that ‘if you can see it, you can be it’.

Women and gender diverse people are underrepresented as leaders at every level of public and creative life – including in jazz performance.

Throughout their careers women and gender diverse people are often dissuaded from pursuing creative careers and leadership roles, from secondary school through to university and into the professional sphere.

There are a multitude of reasons for this, including societal pressure regarding gendered instrumental bias and a lack of relatable role models for emerging musicians – compared to their male counterparts.

In 2019 MIJF launched a program that supported the career development of a Victorian emerging to mid-career leader in jazz while championing diversity and encouraging high school-aged musicians to consider a career in jazz performance.

The first iteration, Tomorrow is My Turn, commissioned a new work by bassist and composer Claire Cross – Into Light – and brought a touring band to metropolitan and regional high schools with an improvisation workshop and an opportunity to see women leading the way in music.

The initiative returned under the name Take Note in 2020 with saxophonist Holly Moore as the Jazz Leader. Holly premiered her suite of music at MIJF’s online music festival These Digital Times and connected with hundreds of students across Victoria with her online jazz workshops.

Trombonist and composer Ellie Lamb was the third Take Note leader in 2021, premiering their suite Between Worlds to a sold-out audience at The JazzLab, and receiving critical acclaim. Ellie inspired high school students across Melbourne with their jazz and improvisation workshops, giving students accessible tools to build skills and confidence in improvisation, whilst advocating for and championing gender diverse and LGBTIQA+ role models in jazz.

In 2022, saxophonist and composer Flora Carbo was selected as MIJF’s fourth Take Note leader. Performing a new suite of music with her ensemble, Ecosystem, Carbo performed to a sold-out audience at MIJF 2022. She also led workshops in high schools, inspiring and instilling confidence in students across Victoria to improvise and connect with others through music.

About Four Winds
Creative development residency supporter
Founded in 1991 as a volunteer led Festival nestled in pristine bushland at Barragga Bay near Bermagui NSW, Four Winds has evolved into an organisation of national significance giving voice to people and place in partnership with local, national and international like-minds who expand creative horizons. Guided by Artistic Director Matthew Hoy’s vision to cultivate and refine the centrality of the arts in our lives through an integrated approach to community and professional practice, Four Winds site (comprising architecturally designed outdoor Soundshell alongside a 160 seat indoor Pavilion) and staff support an ongoing program now established as a coveted destination for the creation, presentation and documentation of experiences through a range of performance, residences and participative events for all ages.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival wishes to acknowledge the generous support provided by the late Harry Kestin, who was instrumental in conceiving this program in 2019 and beyond.

Donate to support Take Note

MIJF is committed to amplifying the impact of this initiative—and aims to bring the program to a growing number of high school students throughout the year in a continued effort to promote cultural change within the sector and the broader community.

We greatly appreciate donations—big and small—towards the annual Take Note program. Your support will ensure more diverse leaders are more visible in leadership roles, inspiring the next generation of women and gender-diverse musicians to lead the way into the future.

Donations of $2 and over are tax-deductible. Donate online today or contact our team on (03) 9001 1388.

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