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Canadian Heritage

Kenny Kirkwood


KENNY KIRKWOOD, B.F.A., B.Ed (pianist, saxophonist, bandleader, arranger, composer) was born in 1966 in New York City, New York, U.S.A. He has played on more than two dozen recordings and toured many parts of the world. As a bandleader/composer/singer/songwriter based in Toronto, Kirkwood has led numerous projects notably the Afro-beat ensemble ZAMCAB and the smooth jazz group KITE.

As a freelance saxophonist in the pop-rock world he has performed and/or collaborated with artists including Jacksoul, Gord Downie, Kevin Breit, and Kim Mitchell. In the jazz-classical world, he is known for his contributions to contemporary ensembles incuding the Viva Children's Chorus, NOJO, Vuja De, Hemispheres, 40 Fingers Sax Quartet, Andrew Downing's Attention Span, the Tim Posgate Horn Band and artists Steve Koven, Rita di Ghent, and Rob Clutton.

As a private music educator for over 17 years, Kenny Kirkwood directs the Blue Moon Music School in Toronto. He has taught hundreds of students of all ages and has coached jazz ensembles at both the University of Toronto and Humber College. Drawing on his arts education, performance experience, and global perspective, he has used his knowledge of music, art, theatre, sports, martial and healing arts to develop workshops for individuals, schools, and major corporations “to help people release their inner musician”. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from York University as a jazz performance major and his bachelor of Education from OISE - University of Toronto. He is a certified elementary teacher in Ontario.

He led the Kenny Kirkwood Quartet (David Restivo on piano, Rich Brown on bass, and Daniel Barnes on bass) when they performed in the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series at the Ontario Science Centre on February 8, 1999.


Kenny Kirkwood is a JUNO Award Winner, and four-time JUNO Nominee.