Mr David Theak

MMus(Perf)
Program Leader of Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance)
Lecturer in Saxophone

C41 - Sydney Conservatorium of Music
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 1252

Biographical details

Jazz Saxophonist, bandleader, conductor, educator & composer David Theak, has enjoyed an exciting and dynamic career at the core of the Australian jazz scene since the mid 1990’s.

David’s big band, theJazzgroove Mothership Orchestra (JMO) enjoys an international reputation as Australia’s leading jazz orchestra. David has collaborated and performed with leading international big band artists Maria Schneider, Chris Potter, Darcy James Argue, Miguel Zenon, Jim McNeely, Alex Sipiagin, Bob Sheppard, Mike Nock, Bert Joris, Florian Ross, Ed Partyka, Charles Tolliver, John Hollenbeck, Theo Bleckmann, Dave Lisik, Will Vinson, plus Australian greats Judy Bailey, Steve Newcomb, Kristin Berardi, Dave Panichi, James Morrison, James Muller and Sean Wayland. David has organised 6 national tours for the JMO and from Concert halls to jazz clubs, these touring performances have been met with critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences, across Australia and New Zealand. David has produced 4 CD’s with the JMO, all of which were nominated as Australia jazz CD of the year. The JMO release with Kristin Berardi was awarded the Bell Award for Jazz CD of the year in 2011 as well as being nominated for ARIA for best jazz release in 2012.

David continues to be a tireless advocate for big band jazz in Australia demonstrated through his work with the JMO, as the current director of Big Bands at the Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Studies course, as convener of the National Big Band Composition Competition and as a former guest artist and current advisory board member of the Western Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO).

As a saxophonist, David has been a finalist in the 2002 National Jazz Awards, 2004 Freedman Fellowship, and a triple nominee for Bell Australian Jazz Ensemble of the year. David has performed concerts at all of Australia’s major jazz clubs and festivals (highlights include The Melbourne International Festival, Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, Brisbane Jazz Festival, Stonnington Jazz Festival, Jazz Now, Jazzgroove Summer Festival), and has performed concerts at many of Europe’s finest jazz clubs (highlights include The Copenhagen Jazzhouse, Stockholm’s Jazzclub Fasching, JazzClub Unterfahrt and the Brussels Jazz Marathon) with his quartet, “theak-tet”. Theak-tet released 3 critically acclaimed CDs. Their 2004 release ‘old school’ was nominated for Jazz CD of the year in 2005. As a composer, David has arranged and composed severaltunes for the JMO with his work being featured on CD’s ‘Dream Wheel’ and ‘The mothership plays the music of Mike Nock’.

As a jazz protagonist, David was seminal in the formal development of the Jazzgroove Association, a Sydney based musicians collective that presents festivals, concerts and in 2004 founded Jazzgroove Records which has grown to contain a catalogue of over 100 CD releases of cutting edge, original Australian music. David continues to serve the community through his involvement with WAYJO, Jazzgroove, SIMA and as a mentor for scores of young musicians who are emerging nationally.

Selected publications & creative works

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Musical Compositions

  • Theak, D. (2007). Bista. Sydney, Australia: Birdland Records/ Creative Vibes.
  • Theak, D. (2007). Good Bert. Australia.

Music

  • Maria, S., Neve, J., Hugh, B., Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2015). 1. A Potters Song 2. The Thompson Fields 3. Walking by Flashlight. Sydney Festival 2015 - Maria Schneider and Jef Neve with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney, Australia: Sydney Festival.
  • Neve, J., Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2015). 1. Second Love 2. For the people 3. Piece in stillness 4. Its gone 5. Nothing but a Casablanca. Sydney Festival 2015 - Maria Schneider and Jef Neve with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney, Australia: Sydney Festival.
  • Theak, D. (2013). 1. Choro Dancado 2. Sky Blue. Maria Schneider and the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
  • Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2013). 1. Transit 2. Jacobin Club 3. Brooklyn Babylon: I. Prologue II. The Neighborhood III. The Tallest Tower in the World IV. Coney Island 4. Obsidian Flow. Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra 10th Anniversary Tour. Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula, Australia: Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra.
  • Potter, C., Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2012). 1. Quick 2. The Steppes 3. New Year's Day 4. Gathering Momentum 5. Abysinnia 6. Rumination. Chris Potter & Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. The Forum, Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
  • Theak, D., Jazz Groove Mothership, O. (2010). 1. The Bird with the coppery keen claws 2. Guarana 3. Joys & Desires Suite 4. Abstinence. BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne International Jazz Orchestra.
  • Theak, D., Tolliver, C., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2009). 1. Emperor March 2. Hit the Spot 3.Suspicion 4. In the trenches 5. Mournin’ Variations 6. On the Nile 7. Toughin’. 2009 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues. Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, Wangaratta, Australia: Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.
  • Theak, D., Joris, B., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2009). 1. Mr Dodo 2. Warp 9 3. Magone 4. Triple 5.Innocent Blues 6. Blue Alert 7. Magic Box 8. Gathering Momentum 9. Good Bert 10. Aanfang 11. Law of Rejocing 12. Teen Adventure 13. Mean MF 14. Nata LAgal 15. Falling of Seasons. 2009 Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra National Tour with special guest Bert Joris. Various, All states in Australia except TAS, ACT & NT, Australia: Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra.
  • Lacey, G., Theak, D., Magnusson, S., Slater, P., Edwardes, C., McMahon, M., Keller, A. (2008). 1. A Castle For All 2. Flying Horse 3. Oh Charming Harlequin 4. Beautiful Columbine 5. Hidden Amongst the Flowers 6. Peacock Song 7. Colourful Fancy 8. Cassander the Strong 9. Pierrot the Clown 10. Hot Air Balloon 11. Cradled in the Peacock's Tail 12. Epilogue. Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney, Australia: ABC Classic FM Music.
  • Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2008). 1. Law of rejoicing 2. Aanvang 3. Good Bert 4. Mind Out 5. Falling of seasons 6. Drift 7. To be confirmed or denied 8. Mean M.F. 9. Hadrian's Wall. Live Jazz performance with Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra of National Big Band Composition Awards. Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo Centre, Sydney, Australia: ABC Classic FM Music.
  • Theak, D. (2008). bista. Bunbury International Jazz Festival, Bunbury, WA, Australia: Bunbury International Jazz Festival.
  • Theak, D. (2008). Sundaze suite. Seymour Centre, The Sound Lounge, Sydney, Australia: Sydney Improvised Music Association.
  • Scott, C., Theak, D., Barlow, D., Bailey, J., Dickeson, A., Alder, W., Philpott, R., Loughnan, C., Biddell, K. (2007). 1. Dat Dere 2. Care For a Waltz? 3. Ki Ki 4. My Funny Valentine, Darn That Dream, My Ideal 5. Theme 3 6. Birdlike. Craig Scott presents the Jazz Faculty of the Sydney Con. Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney, Australia: ABC Classic FM Music.
  • Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2007). Bista. Sydney Opera House The Studio, Sydney, Australia: Sydney Opera House Studio.
  • Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2007). Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra Plays Mike Nock. Wangaratta Town Hall, Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia: TAC Wangaratta Festival of Jazz.

Recorded / Rendered Performance

  • Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2012). I. Walkabout II. The Children III. Random Fireflies IV. Worumgala, Worum Mwa V. Intro to Ebony and Moonlight VI. Ebony and Moonlight VII. Walking Alone VIII. The Medicine Man IX. Intro to Ritual Dance X. Ritual Dance. On Walkabout - A place for Visions, CD, Auckland, New Zealand: Rattle Records.
  • Berardi, K., Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2011). 1. Moonbeams 2. Mr Jackson 3. Ode to Oli 4. Moon & Back 5. Old Fashioned Way 6. Live Rite 7. My One & Only Love 8. Yarn. On Kristin Berardi meets the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, CD, Melbourne, Australia: Jazzhead.
  • Ross, F., Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2007). 1. Teen Adventure 2. Mean MF 3. Dream Wheel 4. Autumn Things 5. Constance's Structure 6. Campaign or Come Swine 7. Bista. On Dream Wheel, CD, Sydney, Australia: Birdland / Creative Vibes.
  • Theak, D., Muller, J. (2005). 1. 3, 4, 5, 6, 2. Ki-Ki, 3. Green eyes, 4.Watch yo' back, 5. Evil Bert, 6. Thrio, 7. June, 8. Flea bag. On Old School, CD, Sydney, Australia: Birdland records.
  • Nock, M., Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2005). 1.Hadrian's Wall 2.Nata Lagal 3.Floating Cloud, Flowing Water 4.Doors 5.Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven 6.Isospin 7.Choose the Beauty Path 8.Earthbound 9.Blues for.. On The Mothership Plays the Music of Mike Nock, CD, Sydney, Australia: Published by Jazzgroove Records, Distributed by Creative Vibes.
  • Theak, D., Muller, J., Stack, P., Simon, C. (2002). 1.Dust Mite 2.Paul Bley 3.Sean Wayland 4.Gamla Stan 5.Get Lucky 6.Doubt 7.Resolve Intro 8.Resolve 9.Jade Parade 10.Routine. On Gamla Stan, CD, Sydney, Australia: Head records.

Exhibitions / Events

  • Theak, D. (2013). Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra: Casula Powerhouse. Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, Australia: Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.
  • Theak, D. (2013). Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. Melbourne Recital Hall, Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
  • Theak, D. (2009). National Big Band Composition Competition 2009. Alpine MDF Theatre, Wangaratta, Australia: Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, APRA and the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.
  • Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2008). National Big Band Composition Awards. Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney, Australia: ABC Classic FM Music.

2015

  • Maria, S., Neve, J., Hugh, B., Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2015). 1. A Potters Song 2. The Thompson Fields 3. Walking by Flashlight. Sydney Festival 2015 - Maria Schneider and Jef Neve with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney, Australia: Sydney Festival.
  • Neve, J., Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2015). 1. Second Love 2. For the people 3. Piece in stillness 4. Its gone 5. Nothing but a Casablanca. Sydney Festival 2015 - Maria Schneider and Jef Neve with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney, Australia: Sydney Festival.

2013

  • Theak, D. (2013). 1. Choro Dancado 2. Sky Blue. Maria Schneider and the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
  • Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2013). 1. Transit 2. Jacobin Club 3. Brooklyn Babylon: I. Prologue II. The Neighborhood III. The Tallest Tower in the World IV. Coney Island 4. Obsidian Flow. Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra 10th Anniversary Tour. Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula, Australia: Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra.
  • Theak, D. (2013). Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra: Casula Powerhouse. Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, Australia: Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.
  • Theak, D. (2013). Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue with the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. Melbourne Recital Hall, Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

2012

  • Potter, C., Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2012). 1. Quick 2. The Steppes 3. New Year's Day 4. Gathering Momentum 5. Abysinnia 6. Rumination. Chris Potter & Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. The Forum, Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
  • Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2012). I. Walkabout II. The Children III. Random Fireflies IV. Worumgala, Worum Mwa V. Intro to Ebony and Moonlight VI. Ebony and Moonlight VII. Walking Alone VIII. The Medicine Man IX. Intro to Ritual Dance X. Ritual Dance. On Walkabout - A place for Visions, CD, Auckland, New Zealand: Rattle Records.

2011

  • Berardi, K., Theak, D., Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, T. (2011). 1. Moonbeams 2. Mr Jackson 3. Ode to Oli 4. Moon & Back 5. Old Fashioned Way 6. Live Rite 7. My One & Only Love 8. Yarn. On Kristin Berardi meets the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, CD, Melbourne, Australia: Jazzhead.

2010

  • Theak, D., Jazz Groove Mothership, O. (2010). 1. The Bird with the coppery keen claws 2. Guarana 3. Joys & Desires Suite 4. Abstinence. BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne International Jazz Orchestra.

2009

  • Theak, D., Tolliver, C., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2009). 1. Emperor March 2. Hit the Spot 3.Suspicion 4. In the trenches 5. Mournin’ Variations 6. On the Nile 7. Toughin’. 2009 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues. Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, Wangaratta, Australia: Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.
  • Theak, D., Joris, B., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2009). 1. Mr Dodo 2. Warp 9 3. Magone 4. Triple 5.Innocent Blues 6. Blue Alert 7. Magic Box 8. Gathering Momentum 9. Good Bert 10. Aanfang 11. Law of Rejocing 12. Teen Adventure 13. Mean MF 14. Nata LAgal 15. Falling of Seasons. 2009 Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra National Tour with special guest Bert Joris. Various, All states in Australia except TAS, ACT & NT, Australia: Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra.
  • Theak, D. (2009). National Big Band Composition Competition 2009. Alpine MDF Theatre, Wangaratta, Australia: Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, APRA and the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.

2008

  • Lacey, G., Theak, D., Magnusson, S., Slater, P., Edwardes, C., McMahon, M., Keller, A. (2008). 1. A Castle For All 2. Flying Horse 3. Oh Charming Harlequin 4. Beautiful Columbine 5. Hidden Amongst the Flowers 6. Peacock Song 7. Colourful Fancy 8. Cassander the Strong 9. Pierrot the Clown 10. Hot Air Balloon 11. Cradled in the Peacock's Tail 12. Epilogue. Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney, Australia: ABC Classic FM Music.
  • Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2008). 1. Law of rejoicing 2. Aanvang 3. Good Bert 4. Mind Out 5. Falling of seasons 6. Drift 7. To be confirmed or denied 8. Mean M.F. 9. Hadrian's Wall. Live Jazz performance with Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra of National Big Band Composition Awards. Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo Centre, Sydney, Australia: ABC Classic FM Music.
  • Theak, D. (2008). bista. Bunbury International Jazz Festival, Bunbury, WA, Australia: Bunbury International Jazz Festival.
  • Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2008). National Big Band Composition Awards. Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney, Australia: ABC Classic FM Music.
  • Theak, D. (2008). Sundaze suite. Seymour Centre, The Sound Lounge, Sydney, Australia: Sydney Improvised Music Association.

2007

  • Scott, C., Theak, D., Barlow, D., Bailey, J., Dickeson, A., Alder, W., Philpott, R., Loughnan, C., Biddell, K. (2007). 1. Dat Dere 2. Care For a Waltz? 3. Ki Ki 4. My Funny Valentine, Darn That Dream, My Ideal 5. Theme 3 6. Birdlike. Craig Scott presents the Jazz Faculty of the Sydney Con. Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney, Australia: ABC Classic FM Music.
  • Ross, F., Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2007). 1. Teen Adventure 2. Mean MF 3. Dream Wheel 4. Autumn Things 5. Constance's Structure 6. Campaign or Come Swine 7. Bista. On Dream Wheel, CD, Sydney, Australia: Birdland / Creative Vibes.
  • Theak, D. (2007). Bista. Sydney, Australia: Birdland Records/ Creative Vibes.
  • Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2007). Bista. Sydney Opera House The Studio, Sydney, Australia: Sydney Opera House Studio.
  • Theak, D. (2007). Good Bert. Australia.
  • Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2007). Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra Plays Mike Nock. Wangaratta Town Hall, Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia: TAC Wangaratta Festival of Jazz.

2005

  • Theak, D., Muller, J. (2005). 1. 3, 4, 5, 6, 2. Ki-Ki, 3. Green eyes, 4.Watch yo' back, 5. Evil Bert, 6. Thrio, 7. June, 8. Flea bag. On Old School, CD, Sydney, Australia: Birdland records.
  • Nock, M., Theak, D., Mothership Orchestra, J. (2005). 1.Hadrian's Wall 2.Nata Lagal 3.Floating Cloud, Flowing Water 4.Doors 5.Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven 6.Isospin 7.Choose the Beauty Path 8.Earthbound 9.Blues for.. On The Mothership Plays the Music of Mike Nock, CD, Sydney, Australia: Published by Jazzgroove Records, Distributed by Creative Vibes.

2002

  • Theak, D., Muller, J., Stack, P., Simon, C. (2002). 1.Dust Mite 2.Paul Bley 3.Sean Wayland 4.Gamla Stan 5.Get Lucky 6.Doubt 7.Resolve Intro 8.Resolve 9.Jade Parade 10.Routine. On Gamla Stan, CD, Sydney, Australia: Head records.

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