Jenna Cave (b.1984) is an Australian composer and arranger, bandleader and conductor, and saxophonist and vocalist who is most known for her large ensemble contemporary jazz music. Her music has been performed, broadcast and warmly reviewed around Australia and internationally.

She has co-lead the 18-piece Divergence Jazz Orchestra as resident composer, conductor and co-leader since 2012. Newer current ensembles include improvised duo For This Moment with Keyna Wilkins and The Truth Seekers; a new originals quintet  with Hannah James, Andrew Scott, Will Gilbert and Mike Quigley. Cave works with other jazz orchestras and ensembles around Australia as guest musical director and commissioned composer/arranger. Cave teaches saxophone and jazz ensemble performance in Sydney. 


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

 – John McBeath, The Australian

Cave 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 Divergence Jazz Orchestra was formed in by Cave with Paul Weber (trombone) as a vehicle to perform and record her own music alongside music by other contemporary Australian composers. In five years they have performed over 20 shows of original Australian music under Cave’s direction. Cave produced their two albums, The Opening Statement (2013) featuring her works, and Fake it Until You Make It (2016); featuring her works alongside those of composing colleagues. The albums have been reviewed and broadcast in Australia and abroad, both receiving glowing 4-star reviews in The Australian and on international jazz blog All About Jazz.

Featuring music by 17 composers to date, Divergence have performed at major Australian jazz festivals (Capital Jazz Project Canberra and Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival), underground venues, in concert series, and have produced many of their own shows. They have collaborated with Australian jazz luminaries Judy Bailey, Miroslav Bukovsky and Paul Cutlan; showcased the music of emerging and younger musicians such as Rafael Karlen and Michael Griffin, and shone a light on the outstanding improvisational and compositional talents within the orchestra.


Photo by Frank Crews

Photo by Frank Crews

Cave writes with depth and maturity well beyond her years

– Jack Bowers, ALL ABOUT JAZZ (USA)

Cave has been commissioned to write music for live performance by jazz festivals and ensembles including; two works for the 2016 Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival for 10-piece ensemble(featuring Sandy Evans), and a piece for sextet (featuring Norwegian saxophonist Froy Aagre and pianist Andrea Keller and Shannon Barnett) for the 2010 Melbourne International Women’s Jazz Festival. Cave was the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra in composer-in-residence 2011 which involved a commission for three new works. In September 2017 she was the guest composer and musical director with the Melbourne Composer's Big Band, who performed a two-set concert of her music, as well as the Dan McLean Big Band who she conducted in performance at the Australian National University in October 2017, playing her arrangements . In 2016 Cave' chamber works String Quartet no. 1 and its’ adaptation Trilogy for Strings were performed internationally in NYC by the Yates String quartet (dir Ron Wasserman) and in St Petersburg by string orchestra Warm and Peace (Cond. Hoshimi Sakai). She 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. In 2015 Cave was 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