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Paul Read  Biography

PAUL READ (pianist, saxophonist, bandleader, composer, arranger, educator) was born 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 18-piece big band PRO (Paul Read Orchestra) as its primary composer/arranger. He also plays piano in small groups such as his own trio and the Paul Read Quartet (with Barry Elmes, Kieran Overs, and Scott Robinson) playing piano and composing with that ensemble. He is also pianist and arranger for the (vocalist) Trish Colter Sextet. He is 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. Read 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.

Read 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 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 he was 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 from 2002-2008, and is 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 on the summer jazz faculty of the Prairielands Jazz Camp.

Paul Read recordings include the Trish Colter Group’s The Dance Never Ends (1998), the Trish Colter Sextet’s At Long Last Love (2002), Think Nice Thoughts (1999) – University of Toronto 10 O’clock Jazz Orchestra, Off the Cuff (2001) – University of Toronto 10 O’clock Jazz Orchestra, Rivers (2004) – University of Toronto 10 O’clock Jazz Orchestra, Awakening – (2006) University of Toronto 10 O’clock Jazz Orchestra, The Heart of Summer (2004) – Paul Read Quartet featuring Scott Robinson.


  • 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