jazz and improvised music


About Us

Our mission

Sydney Improvised Music Association Inc (SIMA) is committed to facilitating the performance of contemporary jazz and improvised music. We aim to be recognised as the leading national contemporary jazz organisation, through our ability to program music of excellence for existing and new audiences, and our support of a vibrant jazz culture in Sydney and Australia.

Our Story

The Sydney Improvised Music Association Inc. (SIMA) is a not for profit incorporated association. Formed in 1984 byit is hard to overestimate the importance of SIMA to the Sydney jazz scene. The number of gigs it has organised in that time is also impressive but raw figures don't begin to tell the whole story. The organisation has been a crucial anchor for improvised music in the city, a constant and dynamic presence.

SIMA - led with extraordinary determination, energy and strategic adroitness has always put the art form and the musicians first. It has championed veteran artists of importance, such as Bernie McGann and John Pochée, and consistently encouraged younger players to develop their talents by giving them opportunities to perform in front of sympathetic audiences. The Necks played one of their first gigs for SIMA.

While maintaining an unstinting commitment to Sydney's music culture, SIMA has never been parochial. Indeed it has embraced and celebrated the international nature of jazz, presenting and touring many important overseas artists from North America and Europe, including Dewey Redman, Geri Allen, Andrew Hill, Steve Lacy, James Carter, Oliver Lake and Horace Tapscott. Local musicians often performed with these significant figures, occasions that sometimes had the unintended consequence of emphasising their own originality and prowess.  

SIMA has also regularly presented adventurous ensembles from other parts of the country and fostered good working relationships with organisations, such as the Melbourne Jazz Co-op, Jazz QLD, Wangratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, WAYJO to name a few, that broadly shares its objectives.

Over 30 years SIMA has proven remarkably resilient. The best bit is that the story is far from over, there is a lot more music to come.     

Read more about our Milestones and achievements so far:

•January 1985: First autonomous production, States of the Art, a 4-concert series featuring 60 local musicians presented under the auspices of the Festival of Sydney and widely considered to have been the festival’s most successful fringe event, drawing capacity crowds
•1986-89: Second “States of the Art” series, free improvised music festivals Explicit Music and Music on the Edge, short residencies at several venues, piano series and inaugural performances by The Necks.
•1989 Establishment of longstanding jazz venue – Strawberry Hills Hotel (1989-1997)
•Establishment of Side On Café as principal jazz venue (1999-2004)

•2002: Young Women’s Jazz Improvisation Workshops launched, led by Sandy Evans - interest and participation in these workshops continues to grow each year. 

•2004: SIMA established the first annual Jazz: Now festival in collaboration with Jazzgroove and the Sydney Opera House, a boutique jazz festival showcasing innovative jazz 

•2005: SIMA becomes the main presenter at The Sound Lounge, Seymour Theatre, helping to build the former restaurant into an outstanding venue to hear live music. SIMA is a resident company of the Seymour Centre.

•2007/2008 SIMA presents Jazz:Now with Sydney Opera House and Jazzgroove.

•2009 launch of Cool For Schools, Jazz education program for high school students

•2011 SIMA launches Jazz Career program, mentoring for young artists.

•2012 Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival launched with support from City of Sydney

•2012 Commission for Mike Nock of a suite of music facilitated by SIMA

•2013 Invitation taken up from Aberdeen International Youth Festival to an Ensemble from the Young Women in Jazz program, including performance at the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival

•2013 Commission of a major new work by Stu Hunter, facilitated by SIMA

•2013 Live recording program commenced in partnership with APRA/AMCOS

•2014 Young Women’s Jazz Workshops launched in WA

•2014 Partnership and performance series with the Freedman Foundation and Fellowships begins

•2014 Commission of new large scale work by Matt McMahon, facilitated by SIMA

•2014 Commission of a new work by Sandy Evans

•2015 Inaugural regional Festival, Berry Jazz

•2016 Young Women’s Jazz Workshops launched in ACT


SIMA has a management committee (Board) of nine, elected for a rolling term of three years at the association’s Annual General Meeting. The maximum serving of two consecutive terms before standing down for one year.

Membership of SIMA is open to the public and any member of SIMA who is financial at the time of elections can stand for nomination to the committee.

SIMA receives support from the Australia Council and Arts NSW and the City of Sydney.

Strategy and Planning with the support of anzarts-institute.com