Scoop chats to two jazz musicians, Joshua Hatcher and Alex Parkinson.

Perth can expect big things from the two jazz hounds who were recently awarded places in the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra National Emerging Jazz Composers Program. Saxophonist, instructor, and composer Joshua Hatcher was selected as the composer-in-residence, while Perth trombone-player extraordinaire Alex Parkinson was chosen as the associate composer-in-residence. Both will premiere their work at the Perth International Jazz Festival this year.

Aiming to be a full-time composer in the big band sphere, 20-year-old Alex says the award means he is on the right track. “It is affirmation to myself that I can create something that people will want to listen to.”

For Queensland artist Joshua, the opportunity has already sparked his imagination. “I’m looking forward to working closely with [WAYJO artistic director] Mace Francis and the WAYJO Composers Ensemble, and I’ve already started to have a few compositional ideas going around in my head for this project.”

Joshua’s experience in composing so far has taught him to value the individual musicians involved.

“Respect the time and talents of your players: they’re people, not instruments,” he explains.

“I want every player to enjoy their part. The whole being greater than the sum of the parts only comes into play when everyone’s digging it.”

Any other tips for other aspiring composers?

“Hard work will always pay off somewhere down the line,” Alex says.

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