Jenna Cave (b.1984) is an Australian composer, bandleader/conductor and saxophonist who is most known for her contemporary jazz big band music. She is a leader of the 18-piece Divergence Jazz Orchestra and works as a music educator in Sydney.

She began her professional musical life as a young jazz saxophonist in Canberra, where she studied saxophone with John Mackey and jazz arranging and composition with Miroslav Bukovsky at the ANU School of Music, graduating in 2006 with first class honours. She was awarded the Peter and Lena Karmel Memorial Prize and Bernhard Neumann Memorial Prize for the most outstanding graduate of the ANU School of Music that year. Cave moved to Sydney in 2008 to study a Master of Music (composition) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Bill Motzing, and was the recipient of a two-year University of Sydney Postgraduate Award Scholarship.

In 2012 Cave formed Divergence Jazz Orchestra with Paul Weber and continues to lead the group as the conductor, resident composer and co-director.  Made up of 19 of Australia’s leading young jazz musicians, their wide repertoire comprises music by contemporary Australian composers. Divergence Jazz Orchestra has released two albums conducted and produced by Cave, The Opening Statement (2013), a showcase of Cave’s compositions; and Fake it Until You Make It (2016), featuring six of her pieces alongside four by other band members and Australian composers. The albums have been highly praised in Australia and abroad, with both albums receiving 4-star reviews in The Australian and on international jazz blog All About Jazz, and featured on ABC Classic FM, Radio National, ABC Jazz, Chicago’s Jazz Radio and BBC amongst others.

Jenna Cave has worked as a composer with other groups around Australia and internationally. In 2015 she was commissioned to compose two new works for the 10-piece Sydney Women’s Jazz Collective, featuring Sandy Evans, which were premiered at the 2016 Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival. In November 2016 her 13-minute work Trilogy For Strings was performed in St Petersberg by international String Orchestra Warm and Peace, Conducted by Hoshimi Sakai, while her 2010 String Quartet No. 1 received its world premiere in December 2016 at a recital curated by bassist Ron Wasserman in NYC.


Cave has established herself as a top-level composer, arranger and conductor in contemporary Australian jazz

 – John McBeath, The Australian


Cave writes with depth and maturity well beyond her years

– Jack Bowers, ALL ABOUT JAZZ (USA)

Other composition commissions of note include three pieces as the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra’s 2011 composer- in-residence and a piece for sextet (featuring Norwegian saxophonist Froy Aagre and pianist Andrea Keller) for the 2010 Melbourne International Women’s Jazz Festival. Her work Odd Time in Mali was included on the Sirens Big Band’s album Kali and the Time of Change (2012), and three of her large ensemble works were featured on a collaborative album Take it in Colour (2006) which she co-produced while studying at the ANU in Canberra. Cave has also been commissioned to compose for the screen, including the score and songs for a short musical Blackbuster broadcast on ABC TV and screened at the 2012 Sydney International Film Festival.

Cave’s compositions have been performed live by other notable groups such as the Bennett’s Lane Big Band (2007 Melbourne International Women’s Jazz Festival), the Sydney Con Big Band (2010 Shanghai World Expo, 2008 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and the Daryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra (at their monthly resident gigs, 2010 to 2012). Cave has also written music for chamber ensembles and solo instruments, and has been awarded full composer representation with the Australian Music Centre.


This is virtuoso horn writing

– John Hardaker, Australian

Music Qualifications

2011: Australian Film Television and Radio School. Graduate Certificate in Screen Music

2008 to 2010: Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney. Master of Music (Composition)

2002 to 2006: Australian National University. Bachelor of Music (Jazz) with Honours (First Class)


Commercial Album Releases

2016: Divergence Jazz Orchestra’s new album Fake It Until You Make It released in October 2016, 6 pieces by Cave and 5 by other composers, produced and conducted by Cave.

2013: Divergence Jazz Orchestra’s debut album The Opening Statement, all music by Jenna Cave, produced and conducted by Cave.

2012: Odd Time in Mali  featured on the Sirens Big Band’s album release Kali and the TIme of Change.

2006: Co-producer of album release Take it in Colour featuring Cave compositions Cardinal Lemoine, Journey and Through the Sky.

2011: Big band arrangement of Yekermo Sew included on the Sirens Big Band EP Universe.


Composition Commissions

2016: Two new works for ten-piece ensemble to be premiered at the 2016 Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival

2016: Private commission to compose a new work for Divergence Jazz Orchestra

2011: Western Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra 2011 composer-in-residence. This included a commission for three new works, tuition with four composers and a concert premiere of the new works.

2010: Commissioned to compose a work for jazz sextet for premiere at the 2010 Melbourne International Women’s Jazz Festival.


Sheet Music Published

Full composer representation with the Australian Music Centre, music available for purchase or loan.


Awards, Grants and Professional Recognition

2015: Awarded full composer representation with the Australian Music Centre

2013: Jenna Cave and Paul Weber recipients of a Contemporary Music Performance Grant from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

2012: Awarded a Women in Film in Television/APRA mentorship  with leading Australian screen composer Guy Gross

2010: Dear Miss Upstill awarded the runner’s up prize in the Sprogis Woods Jazz Composition Competition at the 2010 Canberra International Music Festival

2008: Recipient of a two-year University of Sydney Postgraduate Award Scholarship

2006: Peter and Lena Karmel Memorial Prize for the most outstanding graduate form the ANU School of Music

2006: Bernhard Neumann Memorial Prize for the most outstanding music graduate from the ANU, awarded on the basis of academic achievement and ability to contribute to the School of Music community

2006: Jenna Cave and Sally Greenaway recipients of a Friends of the ANU School of Music grant to assist with production costs on their album release Take it in Colour.


Composer for Film and TV

2012: Commissioned composer for Blackbuster, a short comedy musical funded and developed with the assistance of ABC and Screen Australia. Featured at the 2012 Sydney International Film Festival and 2012 Melbourne International Film Festival as part of the BlackFella Films presentation. Broadcast on ABC TV.

2012: Commissioned to compose and arrange music in the pre-production phase of the The Very Trevor Ashley Show , a TV comedy pilot screened on SBS TV.

2011: Composer for Reflections on Manly Pool, a 17 minute documentary  featured at FlickerFest film festival 2013