Jeremy Brown

  • Professor

Research Interests


In the news

Music review: Saxophone shines in Ottawa symphony concert
Ottawa Symphony Orchestra a Southam Hall, Nov. 16, 2015.


Jeremy Brown is a renowned Canadian saxophonist, woodwind doubler, teacher, expert on the music of Henry Cowell and conductor.  He is Professor of Music and the former Head of the Music Department at the University of Calgary. (1990-present)  He has been an Artist-In-Residence and a visiting lecturer at the Banff Centre.  In 2014 he was awarded the inaugural University of Calgary Faculty of Arts Teaching Award.  In 2010, his solo recording of Canadian saxophone music, “Rubbing Stone” was nominated outstanding classical recording of the year.  In 2009 he was conferred the title “Canadian Music Ambassador” by the Canadian Music Centre for his work promulgating music by Canadian composers, with more than forty works commissioned.  In 2008, he was named an “Innovator of the University of Calgary” for his community outreach, and in 2007 was awarded the David Peterkin Award for his contribution to music education in Alberta by the Alberta Band Association.  In 1999 he was awarded the University of Calgary Student’s Union Teaching Award for the Faculty of Fine Arts.

His education was at Washington State University, where he earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree Cum Laude, (1980) the Master of Music degree in Woodwinds and the Performer’s Certificate in Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music, (1982) and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance at the Ohio State University. (1993)

In 2014, he attended the Jazz Band Director’s Academy at Lincoln Center, New York City, where he continued his work in the area of jazz ensembles and various jazz pedagogies.

As a university teacher, his undergraduate and graduate students have won numerous national and international awards, scholarships and recognition.  His university ensembles have been widely recognized for original programming and performing excellence; most recently his U of C Jazz Orchestra won the Outstanding Ensemble Award at the 2013 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and ten outstanding soloist awards at the 2014 Elmhurst Jazz Festival, Chicago Illinois.

He has recorded numerous records, including Scaramouche with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, (2003, CBC records) In the Company of My Soul (2003, Arktos Label), Ornamentology(lightblue records) Rubbing Stone (2010, Centredisc Label), The Lethbridge Sessions (2014, Centredisc Label) and The Verismo Jazz Quintet (2005).  His inaugural recording of the wind band works of Henry Cowell with the winds of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra will be released in 2014 together with his forthcoming book, “The Windband Works of Henry Dixon Cowell” for Sourcebooks in American Music, College Music Society.

As a saxophone soloist he has appeared with many bands and orchestras including the Washington-Idaho Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Red Deer Symphony, Festival Orchestra of the 2003 World Saxophone Congress (Minneapolis) the Okanogan Symphony Orchestra, Kensington Sinfonia and the Ottawa Symphony.  He is also lead tenor saxophonist with the Calgary Jazz Orchestra.

He is the founding artistic director of the Rubbing Stone Ensemble, a new music ensemble based in Calgary and former conductor and founding artistic director of the National Concert Band of Canada (2002-2010).  He is has been Artistic Director of the Calgary Wind Symphony since 1997, a 60 member wind band founded in 1955 with many of the finest musicians in Calgary.  In 2003, he co-founded Verismo, a Calgary jazz quintet whose inaugural recording garnered great critical acclaim and subsequently performed at the 2007 Montreal Jazz Festival.

Dr. Brown has written numerous pedagogical articles and in addition to his forthcoming book, was co-compiler and series editor of the inaugural Royal Conservatory of Music Saxophone Series (2014).  This groundbreaking and comprehensive saxophone series includes graded repertoire, etudes, technical studies and orchestral excerpts and is used internationally.

His numerous articles are published in the Instrumentalist, Journal of Band Research, Journal of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, Saxophone Symposium, Canadian Band Journal, International Society for the Investigation of Wind Music and Canadian Winds.  He is a currently a contributing editor to Canadian Winds. 


A certain amount of my research activity is on my personal website, at Below is a representative list of my research and artistic activity in the past five years.  New and ongoing work in the realm of the sociological and artistic implications of woodwind doubling across North America is a more recent research area.  I have applied for research funding and am collaborating with sociologist Robert Stebbins in this new realm.

Highlights of this period 2009-2014 is the inaugural Royal Conservatory of Music Saxophone Series that I was asked to lead in 2011.  It was published in June 2014 and is the first series of its kind in North America. 

My book, the ninth in the series for the Sourcebooks in American Music, The Windband Works of Henry Cowell is in the final editing stage and has been an ongoing project for about 20 years.  It is approximately eleven chapters and 250 pages and will be published in late 2014.

My performances with the Ottawa Symphony, Kensington Sinfonia, Calgary Jazz Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic and recordings for the Centrediscs label are performance highlights.

Academic Publications and Disciplinary Equivalents (Last 5 years)

2011-2014.  Lead compiler of saxophone literature and pedagogy books for the Royal Conservatory of Music syllabus and book series, preparatory to grade ten levels.  Published by Frederick Harris Music.  Responsible for 10 books and repertoire anthologies. 

The Lethbridge Sessions. The debut recording by the Rubbing Stone Ensemble.  Centrediscs label, 2014. 

Book in press, 2013 The Wind Band Music of Henry Dixon Cowell.  Pendragon Press and Sourcebooks in American Music, College Music Society.

Concerto soloist with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, May 2013.  Performed the concerto Fallability, Logic and the Return of Wonder written for me by K.M. Murphy and commissioned by the CBC and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Performed at the 2012 World Saxophone Congress, St Andrews Scotland, July 2012.  New commissioned works by Kelly-Marie Murphy, John Butcher. 

In press, 2013 The Wind Band Music of Henry Dixon Cowell, CD recording of the wind band music of Cowell, with members of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.  Jeremy Brown, conductor. 

Henry Dixon Cowell and the Genesis of Modern Wind Band Music. Juried paper presentation at the 2011 College Band Director’s National Conference, Seattle Washington. 

Lessons from a Street-Wise Professor: What You Won’t Learn at Most Music Schools by Ramon Ricker.  Fairport, NY: Soundown Inc., 2011. Book review for the Canadian Winds.  2011. 

Rubbing Stone. CD recording of new works for solo saxophone, saxophone and piano and saxophone and electroacoustic music by Canadian composers.  Juried project supported by the Centre Disc record label, with funding by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Yamaha Canada and the University of Calgary.  September, 2009. *Nominated for Outstanding Classical Recording of 2010 by the Western Canadian Music Alliance. 

Beat Niq. Special celebration CD recording of the Calgary Jazz Club 2009.  Jazz compositions Winter by Jeremy Brown, performed by Verismo Jazz Quintet. 

“The National Concert Band of Canada (2001-2008):  The Philosophy, Repertoire, Soloists and Conductors of Canada’s New Twenty-First Century Youth Band”. International Society for the Investigation of Wind Music, Conference Papers of the 18th IGEB Conference, Echternach, Luxembourg.  2009.  In Press. 

Recital, Concert, Conference and Festival Performances (Last five years)

Jazz recording sessions of original compositions by Tommy Banks and Johnny Summers, July 2014. 

Conductor and Artistic Director of the Calgary Wind Symphony.  Concert series annually 2009-2014, 4 concerts a year. 

Lead tenor saxophonist (soloist) for the Calgary Jazz Orchestra, 2009-2014.  Concert series annually of 3-4 concert performances. 

Saxophonist (lead tenor) with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, June 2014. 

Saxophone soloist, world premiere of Allan Gordon Bell’s new saxophone concerto

Burning Ice and Biting Flame. With the Kensington Sinfonia, May 2014. 

CINI Foundation Conference in Keyboard Improvisation.  Invited guest and observer.  Venice, Italy.  November 2013 

Concerto soloist with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, May 2013.  Performed the concerto Fallability, Logic and the Return of Wonder written for me by K.M. Murphy and commissioned by the CBC and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. 

2013 Region Nine, North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, University of Saskatchewan.  Multiple performances as soloist on saxophone and flute and saxophone quartet, saxophone choir.  U of C students form my saxophone studio also performed in 6 sessions. 

2012 Alberta Music Conference. Saxophone presenter and clinician.  

Performed at the 2012 World Saxophone Congress, St Andrews Scotland, July 2012. New commissioned works by Kelly-Marie Murphy, John Butcher. 

For a full list of publications and performances, click here.


A life in music as a performer and teacher is what I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember.  While I have been told I am a good teacher, I am also a keen student and life long learner.  As a saxophonist and conductor, I have been learning new scores, compositions, fingerings and musical phrasing almost daily since grade school.  I clearly remember how just a few well chosen words from a teacher as well as the materials and music they chose for study inspired me profoundly.  In this personal journey of musical mastery, I have become passionate about teaching with a specific interest in making my lessons as cogent and relevant to my students learning as possible. 

Outstanding music performances have to be absolutely perfect. In music performance less than perfect is unacceptable and sounds ill prepared.  To create the conditions for an outstanding performance, my teaching style is to create a sense of urgency and momentum in rehearsals, with positive and enthusiastic interactions with my students.  I do this by creating a brisk pace, moving from one detail or issue quickly, and using eye contact and student names as much as possible. I find that the rapid pace together with the natural musical process of carving sound out of silence is interesting to my students, resulting in an energetic intensity.  Because of this, the structural details of the music such as notes, rhythms, expression and intonation become exciting and memorable to the students, resulting in better retention of the music studied which often leads to exceptional performances.  One example of such pacing is when rehearsing the trumpets in a musical phrase, I have the saxophones and trombones sing or clap along, without playing.  Full engagement of all the players keeps the rehearsal moving ahead, interesting to everyone and is often a bit humorous as the singing can be well-intentioned but often a bit rough sounding.  In the last few years, I have had rapidly increasing numbers of students audition for my jazz ensembles at the University of Calgary, suggesting that my teaching strategies are appealing to students.

Another key teaching motivator for me is the use of verbal analogy and metaphor.  As a jazz improviser, I have performed in flights of musical fancy for many years, with energizing results for both audiences and me.  Similarly, I find using words, short stories and phrases in an improvisational and sometimes off beat way can be humorous and fun; often inspiring enough to create a memorable impression of the concept or idea I am trying to impart.  An example of analogy I use is when the students have completed a small task well (playing something as I asked them to do really well for instance) I have said “Well let’s put that puppy on the shelf, well done.”  A verbal mix of some silliness and offbeat visual imagery works surprisingly well in creating a moment of energy and forward motion in the lesson.  Such use of analogy or metaphor is a part of my teaching process that can enliven and shift a teaching session that may be losing direction or focus.  I have used these techniques extensively with the University of Calgary Jazz Orchestra in preparing for concerts and festivals.  In 2013, this jazz band was named an Outstanding Ensemble at the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

Another teaching strategy I use is modeling (performing) the behaviors and musical qualities I teach in the studio to my students through my own performances. My public performances are also intended to inspire and energize my students and bring focus to their goals and aspirations.  For instance, when I perform a saxophone composition in a public recital, I aspire to model all the aspects of tone quality, rhythm, intonation and musicality that I have taught my students in the saxophone studio.  Also a part of this modeling is how I look (dressing properly as a musician) and the historical and biographical details of the music I impart when speaking about the music to the audience.  In addition to using modeling as a motivator, I use it to demonstrate correct pedagogy. In my music education classroom, I demonstrate correct posture, holding position, embouchure and fingerings for the woodwind instruments and subsequently challenge (and assess) my students to remember and model these pedagogical details to the best of their ability.

A key way of maintaining a sense of objectivity in my teaching is to record rehearsals and concerts.  This is something I did extensively in the last academic year in preparation for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.  I find during the (often emotional) process of teaching music, you can hear what you want to hear, not what it really is; recording the actual music keeps you honest.  Increasingly, I post these recordings for the students to study on “Dropbox.” I also use “Spotify” and “Grooveshark” to locate and past reference materials for my students to study.  You Tube is also a useful tool in locating recordings for study purposes.  I plan to post more of our ensemble performances on YouTube for both the public to enjoy and for my students to access.

Another strategy I use in appraising my teaching is to invite guest lecturers into rehearsals.  Their insights, critiques and observations with my students are a snapshot of strengths and weaknesses of my teaching, and can be of great assistance in developing new and different ways of approaching learning.  Their ideas and insights are often helpful in guiding me in assessing the learning that is occurring in my classes and rehearsals.

My passion and love for teaching music is something that many of my students remember about me long after they have left my classroom.  I am thrilled to have been a part of their musical growth and even more excited to have contributed to their life long independence of artistic musical interpretations and insightful performances.

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