A prolific composer and arranger, Jill Townsend is the leader of the critically acclaimed Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra. The Canadian National Jazz Awards twice nominated JTJO for Large Ensemble of the Year. Their most recent recording Legacy, featuring the music of Ross Taggart (Cellar Live 2015) presents new arrangements by Jill Townsend and Bill Coon and was voted #1 in CBC’s “Top Ten Outstanding CD’s of the Year”. She has written music to feature several guest artists appearing with her large ensemble including B3 organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and trombonists Ian McDougall and Jiggs Whigham.
Jill was commissioned to arrange music for a ten-piece ensemble featuring Cory Weeds, Joe Magnarelli and Vincent Herring, which premiered in fall 2017. She was commissioned by Touch of Brass Quintet in 2016, and New Orchestra Workshop in 2015. Jill’s music has been recorded and performed by many ensembles throughout North America including SWOJO (Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra) and Calgary based Prime Time Big Band, featuring award-winning saxophonist PJ Perry. In addition to being the Artistic Director of JTJO, Jill is currently the co-director of SWOJO and is on the music faculty at Douglas College where she directs the Jazz Ensemble.
Jill has received grants awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the B.C. Arts Council and has completed numerous composition residencies in the Leighton Artists Colony at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She studied composition, arranging and trombone with Ian McDougall, Kenny Wheeler, Rob McConnell and Jiggs Whigham.
Jill received her Master of Music Degree from the University of Victoria.