The four jazz artists who will create experimental work at festivals across England in 2023 are: Andrew Woodhead, Piera Onacko, Marcus Joseph and Raheel Khan.

Each artist has been awarded a Cheltenham Jazz Festival Jerwood Jazz Encounters Fellowship which will give them the chance to present jazz in unusual spaces and the digital realm. The 18-month programme produced in collaboration with Manchester Jazz Festival, Oxford Contemporary Music and Sage Gateshead will equip the artists with the skills and contacts they need to develop bold new work. Each Fellowship includes R&D funding, in-depth mentoring, a two-day Creative Lab hosted by Birmingham City University, specialist support from digital partner The Space and residency opportunities with partners Britten Pears Arts and 101 Outdoor Arts.

The current cohort have reached or are nearing the end of their journeys: Elliott Galvin’s sonic memory installation ‘Handle With Care’ was shown in Oxford’s Templar’s Square shopping centre last autumn by Oxford Contemporary Music while Faye MacCalman unveiled her audio-visual installation ‘Invisible, Real’ at Cheltenham Jazz Festival on 30 April/1 May following residencies at Snape Maltings with Britten Pears Arts and 101 Outdoor Arts. Lara Jones will appear at Manchester Jazz Festival with Ensō +, popping up in Manchester’s Piccadilly Train Station with her immersive geodesic dome installation and Witch n Monk will present their audio-visual performance ‘Unravelling the Mind’, exploring the fluid borders between humans and nature at Sage Gateshead this autumn.

Sheffield-born composer and producer Andrew Woodhead’s projects include electro-acoustic duo ELDA with Aaron DiazIdeas of Noise with Sarah Farmer, and Mark Sanders’ CollapseUncollapse trio. He said: “It is a rare and wonderful thing to be given time, space and crucially the resources and support to explore a bold new idea. Developing my ‘Pendulums’ album into a large-scale installation will push me far from my comfort zone and challenge me to rethink my practice in ways I wouldn’t have conceived of. I am hugely excited to see where the path takes me over the next 18 months.”

Bandleader and composer Piera Onacko explores the world of synths and live electronics, performing as a soloist and in groups in a number of improvised settings She commented: “The Jerwood Jazz Encounters programme is the perfect opportunity for me to explore ideas that don’t fit into the traditional setting of stage and audience. Having the chance to develop my cross-collaborative relationships and learn more about presenting music in unusual ways is very exciting, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Jazz musician and spoken word artist Marcus Joseph who is already performing in his own virtual Jazz Club in AltspaceVR and through the fellowship is seeking to develop an immersive Jazz VR experience. He said: “I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Jerwood Jazz Encounters programme and exploring the limitless possibilities and capabilities of XR technologies within music. An immersive jazz experience that captures the heart and imaginations of the audience is something that I’m keen to develop on this programme. Having an opportunity like this is incredible as I get to be bold and innovative in my creativity with technology that is breaking new ground.”

Raheel Khan is an artist and musician working in sound, installation and performance. He explained: “The spaces between sound, music and installation are deeply rooted within my work and interests – this will be my most ambitious idea yet. Having the opportunity to develop the project in a lab/incubator style environment amongst peers, producers and mentors that have direct lineage to the sensibilities of Jazz, not only as a genre but as a movement is something I feel incredibly energised by.”

Jon Opie, Deputy Director of Jerwood Arts said: “Jerwood Arts is delighted to support these four outstanding artists for the second cohort of the Jerwood Jazz Encounters. The concepts Andrew, Piera, Marcus and Raheel have outlined are truly exciting, spot on for the brief for creating bold new works for festivals and unusual spaces. I know they will benefit from careful and encouraging support of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival team and partners, and look forward to seeing them develop over the next 18 months.”

Head of Programming at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, David Gaydon said: “Today more than ever, it’s vital that artists have the space and freedom to develop creatively risky projects. Thanks to the support of our funders and partners, we’ve been able to extend our Jazz Encounters programme and work with festivals across the country to engage new and different audiences for jazz.”

More information about the Jerwood Jazz Encounter Artists:


Andrew Woodhead (b. Sheffield, 1990) is a musician, composer and producer working across a variety of contexts taking in jazz, free improvisation, electronica, folk and new music. Projects he is involved with include electro-acoustic duo ELDA with Aaron Diaz, collaborative arts practice Ideas of Noise with Sarah Farmer, and Mark Sanders’ CollapseUncollapse trio.

IG / Twitter: @awoodheadmusic


Piera is a pianist, synth player and composer, based in Birmingham. She is active across the UK in several projects as both bandleader and sidewoman including her own quartet Juggenaught, electro psyche band Rosie Tee and more recently un.procedure, an experimental jazz-rock outfit with saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi. The last few years have led Piera to explore the world of synths and live electronics, performing both solo and in groups in a number of improvised settings.

IG: un.procedureband pieraonackomusic


Marcus is a Jazz musician and spoken word artist and his sound can be described as a warm fusion of Jazz, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Contemporary Music. He is developing an immersive Jazz VR experience that weaves together graphic novel aesthetics and video game interactive narrative with themes of freedom, oppression and creativity through storytelling, music and spoken word. Marcus already performs in his own virtual Jazz Club in AltspaceVR, a club where people from around the world can visit, meet and listen to jazz and spoken word performances. His debut album Beyond the Dome was released on the Jazz Refreshed label.

IG: @marcusjosephsax


Raheel is an artist and musician working in sound, installation and performance. His work exists between the spaces of the private and public sphere, often creating an intimate archive of abstract social commentary. Originally studying Economics, Raheel has moved towards a creative practice presenting projects with Manchester International Festival, BBC Arts, CRiSAP and HOME as well as performances at BBC Maida Vale, Tramway Gallery and Glastonbury.

IG: raheelkhan____


Jerwood Arts is the leading independent funder dedicated to supporting UK artists, curators and producers to develop and thrive. We enable transformative opportunities for individuals across art forms, supporting imaginative awards, bursaries, fellowships, projects, programmes and commissions. We are committed to supporting artistic freedom of expression and being as inclusive as possible across all our work. We present new work and bring people from across the arts together through our exhibitions and events at Jerwood Space, London, as well as across the UK and online.

Jerwood Jazz Encounters is supported by:

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