Brian Katz is an internationally acclaimed guitarist, pianist, recording artist, improviser, composer, and music educator. As a performer and composer, he is noted for bringing classical and world music influences to modern jazz and various world music streams, and is highly regarded as a “free” music improviser, where he blends many of his influences into coherent musical statements. He holds Mus. Bach. and Mus. M. degrees (Music Education) from the University of Toronto, and Dalcroze Eurhythmics Certification—a method of education exploring the intrinsic relationships between music and movement—from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Brian also studied jazz at Humber College in Toronto, composition and classical guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and various subjects at York University, Toronto. Brian has taught music in a variety of settings—from pre-school to university— for over 30 years. His major mentors have included the innovative Canadian musician-composer, Fred Stone, guitarists Eli Kassner, Ralph Towner and Norbert Kraft, South Indian drummer Trichy Sankaran, pianist Casey Sokol and the late great composition teacher, Sam Dolin.
At the Faculty, Brian teaches a variety of courses that prepare prospective teachers of music for careers as elementary and high school music teachers: Guitar for the Classroom and Movement and Music: Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Brian leads Klezmer ensembles at the University of Toronto, and at York University, Toronto, where he also instructs courses in Contemporary Improvisation, Music for Health and Wellness and Classical, Jazz and Folk (world) guitar.
Brian has contributed guitar compositions to the Royal Conservatory of Music Syllabus and is the author of Guitar Music of Brian Katz (with a treatise and practicum on Tonal Improvisation). His academic/research interests include: Relationship of Movement to Music Cognition; Music Memory; Improvisation Pedagogy, Classical Improvisation and Psychological Dynamics Inherent in the Private Music Lesson. His writings have been featured in several publications including Orbit and Canadian Musician, and he has written articles for several journals including The American Dalcroze Journal.
Highly regarded as a soloist and composer, Brian collaborates widely. His stage/recording partners have included Grammy nominated/Juno winner saxophonist/flutist, Jane Bunnett, Grammy recipient/tabla master Sukhwinder Singh, klezmer clarinetist Martin van de Ven, flugelhornist /composer Fred Stone (who toured/recorded with Duke Ellington), singers Lenka Lichtenberg, Allan Merovitz, Beth Anne Cole, Bob Wiseman, Theresa Tova, Shura Lipovsky, Michael Alpert (Brave Old World) and guitarists Mordy Ferber, Rob Piltch and William Beauvais..” The Toronto Star called his klezmer based CD with Martin van de Ven, Collected Stories, “enchanting.” Brian’s solo guitar CD, “Leaves Will Speak” was released in 2013, a project highlighting Brian’s evocative compositions and fiery improvisations informed by the cultures of jazz, classical and various world music streams. “If you want music that speaks — here it is” Jazz Podium Magazine, Germany.
Mr. Katz has received several awards from the Canada and Ontario Arts Councils, and has been artist-in-residence at Franklin Pierce College, New Hampshire, and Ridley College in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. He has designed and taught courses in classical music improvisation for the Jugendmusikschule in Zurich, Switzerland.