ABOUT STUART VANDEGRAAFF
I'm a multi-instrumentalist performer, composer, arranger, producer, music coach and director. I've been based in Sydney since 2000, and have performed locally, nationally and internationally in a diverse range of musical settings. I perform on saxophones (alto, soprano, tenor and baritone), clarinet, silver flute and piccolo, and various hand percussion. I am also one among Australia's small handful of students and performers of the Arabic flute, the nay (nai, ney).
I love the spaces where traditional and ethnic music techniques and practises have been harmoniously blended with the mainstream - I call this "Global Fusion". Australia is uniquely placed in time, geographic location and ethnic makeup to make the most of the possibilities that such collaborations can offer.
I have had the great fortune to play and collaborate with many fine Jazz, Rroma, Klezmer, Brazilian, Middle-Eastern, Indigenous Australain, Greek, African and other musicians. In particular, I have learned a lot about Brazilian styles and practise and perform a vast repertoire of chorinho and other forms. I completed my B.Mus in jazz performance at Adelaide Conservatorium in 1996 and completed my Masters in performance at Sydney Conservatorium in 2018, presenting my dissertation "The Tārāb Saxophone: The development of a comprehensive culturally informed approach to the performance on the saxophone of music derived from Arabic maqāmāt". I continue to travel the world to study, perform, teach and engage with supporting cultural practises.
I feel that the passing on of information I have accumulated on my musical journey is as important to my process as it is a responsibility to the broader community. I manifest this as a band director, community music maker (particularly with the Sydney Choro Club), tutor and music coach. I also hosted a Global Fusion radio show on Sydney's Eastside community Radio 89.7FM called "Fuse" for about 8 years until 2014.
I'm co-founder and music director of intercultural group Masha's Legacy and my Jazz group SV4. I am a regular member of the Zela Margossian Quintet, reeds player with the Andalus Arabic Choir, the Mell-O-Tones Big Band (lead Tenor), Assyrian intercultural group Azadoota and a frequent side-man collaborator. From 2020 I'm thrilled to be part of the touring group for Musica Viva Australia with world music legends Mara! I held principal chairs with both the NSW Police Band (2016-2018) and the Navy Band (Sydney) (2000-2004).
As a composer and arranger I have worked with my own ensembles and have extensive scoring experience with groups varying from solos and duets to 60-piece wind orchestras.
In 2018 I was a judge for the Freedman Jazz Fellowship and continue my relationship with Music Council Australia as a reviewer for LoudMouth magazine.