Big Band

The Summer School Big Band is where young jazz musicians from all over Victoria further their solo and ensemble skills in a full line-up of winds, horns and rhythm section instruments, and take to the stage for collaborative performance opportunities. 

Participants will benefit from the experience of Eugene Ball, a highly regarded performer, ensemble director and educator, and be mentored by Victoria’s leading exponents of contemporary jazz through a series of workshops and tutorials, together exploring great charts and varying jazz styles.


STANDARD AMEB Grade 5+ for wind and brass musicians.  Rhythm section AMEB CPM Step 2+ or equivalent.
AGE 15 years +
INSTRUMENTS Saxophone, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, piano, guitar, double bass, drum kit, percussion.


NOTE: AMEB levels indicated are not a formal requirement, but provided as a guide to the skills required.


Big Band Director

Multi-award winning Australian trumpeter, Eugene Ball, has received widespread national and international recognition throughout a professional career that has featured performances with some of the biggest names in music. Eugene has appeared alongside international jazz musicians, such as Josh Roseman (USA), Mark Helias (USA), George Lewis (USA), Satoko Fujii (Japan), Wycliff Gordon (USA) and Jakob Dinesen (Denmark), in addition to celebrated Australians Paul Grabowsky, Mike Nock, Tony Gould, Graham Lyall, Bernie McGann and Don Burrows. Eugene has also warmed the stage in support acts for international legends Charlie Haden, Branford Marsalis and the Reverend Al Green.

Eugene’s versatility has been key to his varied career, as he has frequently stepped outside of the world of jazz to work with many leading commercial artists, including Jamie Cullum (UK), John Butler, Tim Rogers, You Am I, Paul Kelly, Jimmy Barnes, Kate Ceberano, David Campbell, the Bamboos and Shane Howard. In addition to his high profile freelance performances, Eugene has toured nationally and internationally with some of Australia’s most highly acclaimed groups, including The Hoodangers, the Andrea Keller Quartet, the Allan Browne Quintet, the Australian Art Orchestra, the Black Arm Band, and the Bennett’s Lane Big Band.

Eugene is also a prolific and accomplished composer and arranger. The 2011 winner of the APRA/AMCOS ‘Best Australian Jazz Song’ with Song From The Highest Tower, he also received a Bell Award in 2008 for the ‘Best Australian Jazz Composition of the Year’ for Fool Poet’s Portion.  Eugene’s compositions and arrangements have featured in films, theatre, television, recordings and live performances. Many of his original works have been performed by internationally renowned artists and ensembles, including Eddie Perfect, Ali McGregor, Kate Ceberano, Don Burrows, Nina Ferro, Julie O’Hara, Gian Slater, the Melbourne and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, ACO2, the Bennetts Lane Big Band, the Australian Art Orchestra and the Monash Art Ensemble. Eugene has received commissions from the Australia Council for the Arts; The Australian Art Orchestra, Monash and Melbourne Universities; Blackburn, Eltham and Balwyn High Schools; The Melbourne Festival; the Four Winds Festival; and the West End Composers’ Collective.

Since 2006, Eugene has written for and performed with Australia’s foremost indigenous artists, including Archie Roach, Kutcha Edwards, Lou Bennett, Joe Geia, Mark Atkins, Shellie Morris, Dan Sultan and Emma Donovan, for the acclaimed Black Arm Band shows Murrundak, Hidden Republic and Dirtsong. 2010 saw Eugene engaged as one of two Musical Supervisors of the epic Melbourne International Arts Festival production Seven Songs to Leave Behind, featuring Sinead O’Connor, Rickie Lee Jones, John Cale (Velvet Underground), Meeshel Ndegeocello, Gurrumul Yunupingu and members of the Black Arm Band. This was followed by his 2011 appointment as Musical Director for Notes From the Hard Road and Beyond at the Myer Music Bowl. Another Melbourne International Arts Festival production, this show featured Joss Stone, Mavis Staples, Emmanuel Jal, Paul Dempsey, Rickie Lee Jones and the Black Arm Band.

Eugene has been actively involved in the creation and promotion of performance opportunities for well-known and emerging artists by establishing the performance space/organisation Lebowski’s. Eugene was also a pivotal member in the creation of the Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival and was the Musical Director of the Eltham Jazz Festival 2009-2010. In addition to his outstanding record of professional achievement, Eugene has sustained an acclaimed academic and music education career. He holds a Masters Degree in Performance (Melbourne University) for which he was awarded a Melbourne Research Scholarship. From 1998 until 2007, he taught the trumpet, improvisation and composition in addition to directing award winning ensembles at Eltham High School, Monash University and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). Eugene continues to teach at the VCA and, in 2008, accepted a position in Melbourne Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Music, where he lectures in trumpet, composition, arranging, cultural studies and music education. Eugene has also delivered workshops and master-classes at tertiary institutions throughout Australia and internationally.


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