Mike Stewart was a Saxophonist, Big Band Leader and Lecturer at the Elder Conservatorium of Music.
At 21 he moved to Adelaide, Australia to begin jazz studies at the Elder Conservatorium and joined the teaching faculty soon after graduation. Mike has worked in a variety of situations in Adelaide being a member of Goose and the Marmalade Circus as well as freelancing and pit work with local and international shows. In 2001 Mike was the inaugural winner of The Barossa Wine Makers Jazz Scholarship. This allowed him to travel to the USA to study with jazz masters George Coleman and Rich Perry. In 2003, Mike was awarded a scholarship to commence a Masters Degree of Music at Purchase College in New York. During this time he studied and performed with jazz legends such as, Jon Faddis, James Moody, Joe Lovano, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Mark Turner Ralph Lalama, Javon Jackson, Steve Wilson, Adam Nausbaum, David Hazeltine among many others. Through considerable help and encouragement from close friend and mentor Jon Faddis, Mike made his solo recording debut in New York, with a stellar rhythm section comprised of Renee Rosness (piano), Todd Coolman (bass) and Lewis Nash (drums) and produced by Jon Faddis. The resulting album Serenity is a hard swinging record featuring some of Mike's compositions and arrangements of standards from Joe Henderson to Thelonius Monk.
Mike was a well respected member of the live music community in Adelaide with his groups The Airbenders, Mike Stewart Big Band and the Adelaide Sax Pack. He was also a member of the world renowned Adelaide based Progressive Rock group Unitopia and was a long standing leader of JazzSA.
Mike died unexpectedly at 41 years of age in 2014, he collapsed whilst jogging and could not be revived. The inaugural Mike Stewart Memorial Award was established by JazzSA and the Helpmann Academy to fund an outstanding early career jazz musician in the pursuit of their professional development.