Spearheaded by Ajay Heble's vision, Guelph Jazz Festival was founded in 1994 by a small group of friends who shared a love of jazz and a commitment to the community of Guelph. A three-time recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for the Arts (2001, 2000 & 1997) and the winner of the 2010 Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Festival has consistently garnered high praise from local, national and international critics for presenting the most innovative accomplishments in jazz.
At the forefront of scholarly thought on jazz for the past 20 years, Guelph Jazz Festival offers an educational colloquium that examines music within global cultural contexts as an integral part of the Festival. A dynamic forum that has generated innovative research and writing on the theory, practice, and pedagogy of jazz, Guelph Jazz Festival continues to produce lively discourse that substantively expands the vocabulary of creative music making and critical thinking.
Guelph Jazz Festival has commissioned several large-scale multi-disciplinary works including Passages a multi-media jazz opera, Québécité a multi-cultural romance with music by D.D. Jackson and libretto by George Elliott Clarke, and In Place of Wishes for children of all ages, written by Robert Pennee with improvised music provided live onstage by five musicians. Our 20th anniversary commission, Gnomon Variations is by Jesse Stewart, performed with the Penderecki String Quartet.