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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Paul Read


PAUL READ (pianist, saxophonist, bandleader, composer, arranger, educator) was born on February 11, 1948 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to earning graduate and undergraduate degrees in music and education at the University of Toronto, he also studied arranging and composition with Gordon Delamont and composition with John Beckwith. He also attended Berklee College of Music in Boston studying saxophone with Joe Viola and arranging with Ted Pease.

Read leads the 17-piece big band PRO (Paul Read Orchestra) composing and arranging as well as playing saxophone for the band. He also leads the Paul Read Quartet (with Barry Elmes, Kieran Overs, and Scott Robinson) playing piano and composing with that ensemble, and is also pianist and arranger for the (vocalist) Trish Colter Sextet. He was the long-time leader of the University of Toronto’s 10 O’Clock Jazz Orchestra.

His compositions and arrangements are published with Boosey & Hawkes, Belwin, UNC Jazz Press, Beldriana, and Warner Brothers, and several of his compositions appear in the Canadian Jazz Fakebook. Reid was pianist/arranger for the Manhattan (NYC) Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at Carnegie Hall in 1989, and worked as a transcriber with Oscar Peterson in the production of three volumes of transcriptions of Peterson's compositions and improvisations from 1989 to 1991.

Reid has been awarded commissions in many genres from a varied list that includes the Colborne Street United Church in London, Ontario; Jazz Mechanics in Brampton, Ontario; Campbell Collegiate in Regina, Saskatchewan; Lumsden Secondary School in Lumsden, Saskatchewan; the (2007) Music Coalition of Canada, the Humber College Eddie Sossin Memorial Concert, and Humber College Community Music School.

One of the country’s most respected jazz educators, Paul Read was a member of the Humber College Music Faculty from 1979 to 1991, Program Coordinator there from 1982 to 1987, and Director of Music from 1987 to 1991. In 1991, he founded the degree programs in jazz at the University of Toronto (Mus. Bac., M. Mus. and DMA) where has been a long-time Professor of Music and Director of Graduate Jazz Studies, Toronto. He was Canada's Representative on the Board of the International Association for Jazz Education, and founding Director of National Music Camp (NMC) Jazz Camp (1987 to 2006). He has adjudicated at festivals and presented workshops throughout Canada since 1975, and is was the summer jazz faculty of the Prairielands Jazz Camp.

WIth Trish Colter, Paul recording The Dance Never Ends (1998) and At Long Last Love. With the University of Toronto 10 O'clock Jazz Orchestra, Paul recorded Think Nice Thoughts (1999), Off the Cuff (2001), Rivers (2004), and Awakening - (2006).

Read recorded The Heart of Summer in 2004 with a quarte featuring saxophonist Scott Robinson.

In 2010, Read released Arc-En-Ciel with the Paul Read Orchestra on Addo Records featuring nine original compositions.

Paul received the 2015 Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement presented by the Toronto Arts Foundation. The award is presented to an artist or creator who has made a contribution to the cultural life of Toronto through outstanding achievement.


1972 – Winner of the Rob McConnell/Gordon Delamont Arranging & Composition Award
1993 – Awarded the University of Toronto Senior Alumni Award for Innovation in Teaching
1998 – Winner of the Jazz Report Award for ‘Post-Secondary School Jazz Program of the Year’ (on behalf of the University of Toronto where Paul Read was responsible for developing the University's Jazz Performance Degree Program)
2007-2008 – Awarded a Canada Council for the Arts Recording Grant
2008 – Paul Read Orchestra (PRO) nominated for a National Jazz Award