Mr John Mackey

BMus Jazz (Edith Cowan University, W.A.)
Saxophones, Flute and Clarinet
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Music Performance 190407

Research interests

Collaborative projects and Innovation focussed outcomes.


John Mackey began playing clarinet aged 10 and then won a scholarship to study classical saxophone at age 12. John graduated from Edith Cowan University in Perth Western Australia, with a 4 year BMus in Jazz in 1990.

He has been performing professionally since the age of 14, nationally and internationally. John has appeared on many national television shows including, Hey Hey Its Saturday as well as the Sunday program.

He resided in Sweden for three years 1991 - 1994 and used this a base to travel and perform extensively throughout Scandinavia, Europe and the U.S.A.

John conducted masterclasses in Sweden and Houston Texas.

John has performed with many Jazz legends including BB King, Ray Charles, Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz, Jim McNeely, Kenny Werner, Al Cohn, Mike Nock, Nat Adderley, Roy Hargrove, George Shearing and many more.

John resided in Sydney Australia upon his return from overseas in 1994 until 1999. He moved to Canberra in mid 1999 and performs regularly in Australiasia.

John has been a member of Faculty at the ANU School of Music sine 2000 and is currently embarked on a PhD.

John's research interests lie within the music field, as well as collaborative ventures across disciplines.  

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Researcher's projects

  • 2018 - Researching possibilities relating to modificastion of saxophone/clarinet mouthpiece design as well as exploration into the construction and cloning of reeds. Beginning discussions with CSIRO.
  • 2016-2017 - Ongoing collaborative work with RSPE/ ANU innovations and Industrial Design company in melbourne (Outerspace) regarding working toward a commercial prototype for the Ergonomonic Saxophone Stand. 
  • 2016 - 2017 Establishing the Australasian Jazz Improvisation Researchers Network (AJIRN) in collaboration with Monash University. I am the ACT representative. 
  • 2015 May - International profile performance with Grammy Award winning artist Kurt Elling USA and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall.
  • 2015 August and November - PhD Experimental tracks - 26 takes of the same track - exploration into application of my Extended approach to imprisation utilising pentatonic scale structures. Tracks are being uploaded to ARIES.


Current student projects

2017/2018 Implementation of the Emerging Performers Improvisers composers Collective (EPICC) - a recruitment and educational model for emerging artists.

Past student projects


Collaboration with Ryan Richards from CBE on creativity and cross collaborative work.

Recorded output in form of composition discussing creative process and recorded solo improvisation reflecting the creative processes based on elements of certainty and uncertainty.


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Updated:  20 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers