Faculty Biographies

PHIL DWYER – Artistic Director, saxophone, composition

Qualicum Beach based musician Phil Dwyer is regarded as one of Canada’s leading jazz artists. He has appeared on 10 Juno Award-winning records, and 20 others which have been nominated. In 2013 he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada and, in 2015, was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Phil has had a long and fruitful relationship with CBC Radio Music, as a performer, composer/arranger, and musical director, most recently filling all three of these roles for the  CBC Radio Juno Jazz Showcase in Vancouver.

In 2017 Phil graduated from law school and is now working in the legal profession. He is also a founding partner in SeaWind Musical Instruments, which produces the Phil Dwyer Edition line of saxophones as well as marketing and distributing a number of other musical instruments and accessories. Phil has always been active in the community, involved in education and various social agencies and philanthropic endeavours.

Click here for a message from our Artistic Director

CHRISTINE JENSEN – saxophone, ensembles, composition, arranging

The Multi-Juno Award-winning saxophonist is known equally for her small group and big band work as a composer, performer and leader. Originally, from Nanaimo, she is based in Montreal, where she is on faculty at McGill University.  She currently co-leads her ensemble Infinitude with her sister Ingrid, featuring New York guitarist Ben Monder.


PJ PERRY –  guest artist, week one

Juno-award-winner, PJ has shared the stage with countless jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Michel LeGrand and Pepper Adams. Recently, PJ was featured soloist for the 2010 Broadway production of Fly Away.



Neil Swainson is among the most accomplished bassists on the jazz scene today. He launched his career in Victoria BC in 1975 in Paul Horn’s band. Soon after, Neil relocated to Toronto where he worked and recorded with such Canadian jazz masters as Rob McConnell and Ed Bickert. He also became the bassist of choice for many visiting American musicians. In 1986, Neil caught the ear of the great George Shearing, and they toured and recorded extensively for over 15 years. More recently, he works with Roberta Gambarini, PJ Perry, Renee Rosnes, and many others. Neil continues to thrive as a player, composer, and educator


TED QUINLAN –  guitar, ensembles

Ted is a highly respected jazz artist frequently appearing with the “who’s who” of the Canadian jazz scene. He has performed with some of the biggest international jazz stars including Freddie Baker, Chet Baker and Eddie Harris. Ted is long-time head of Guitar at Humber College.


CHRIS ANDREW –  piano, master classes

Chris has become a key player in the Alberta music scene. His musical diversity can be seen through his numerous performances over the years in genres such as jazz, funk, pop, latin, or musical theatre. Chris has performed with many of Canada’s jazz greats including Joshua Redman, Sonny Fortune, Bud Shank and P.J. Perry. Chris is on faculty at Grant MacEwan College.


KEN LISTER –  adult jazz, vocal jazz

A professional jazz bassist and teacher for over 30 years, Ken Lister has played, recorded and toured with some of the top musicians in the jazz world, winning the respect of his peers and two Juno Awards along the way. Ken has toured extensively, both across Canada and internationally; including the British Isles, Cuba, South and Central America, and Australia.


INGRID JENSEN – trumpet, ensembles

Ingrid has been hailed as one of the most gifted trumpeters of her generation. Berklee College Graduate, Ingrid has recorded and performed with a multi-generational cast of jazz legends and is featured soloist on Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra’s Juno-award-winning album, Treelines (2011). Ingrid is also a dedicated jazz educator, currently on faculty at both Purchase College and New School in New York


JON WIKAN –  drums, master classes

Drummer, percussionist and composer Jon Wikan was born in Petersburg Alaska and raised in Seattle, Washington. Jon spent summers in Alaska engrossed in the fishing industry while working out his drum technique on the back of a fish boat rail, using the money he made fishing to purchase his first drum se

From backing the most illustrious singers in the Jazz idiom, to swinging hard in highly modern hard hitting formats, Jon has created a niche for himself that makes him one of the most flexible and in demand drummers on the New York scene.

He plays an integral role in the creation and performance of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society Big Band, having held the drum chair from the inception of the band, adding layers of percussion and additional sounds to all three albums created by the Society

Ernestine Anderson, Mark Murphy, Maria Muldaur, Karin Allison,Dee Daniels, Dena DeRose,The New York Voices, Denise Donatelli , Kurt Elling and Nancy King, are just some of the accomplished names with whom Jon has played with over the years. Not to mention backing up superstar Ann Wilson while covering the drum chair in the long running Seattle based Theatro Zinzani show.

The instrumentalists and bands that he has lifted with his powerful pocket and infinite groove include: Project O, the Infinitude Project with the Jensen Sisters, the Ingrid Jensen quartet and quintet, The Jim Knapp Big Band, Nordic Connect and the Geoffrey Keezer trio.

Jon has toured the globe extensively with the Lincoln Center Abroad program and is currently fulfilling a long term contract with the Music/Norland program and guitarist Bjorn Soli, touring extensively all over Norway while providing jazz education in the schools throughout the year.  His presence and playing on the current Infinitude album, provides an invaluable essence and beauty the contributes to the musical journey of the band. A unique essence that comes with the history of his involvement and support in the production and  playing on so many of the Jensen sister’s projects over the years.

JOEL MILLER –  saxophone, ensembles

Canadian Juno award winning saxophonist Joel Miller has spent most of his life happily ignoring convention. Be it Jazz, Latin, Classical or Pop, Miller fluidly crosses boundaries, fusing a tapestry of fragments into a new and unique sound.

Winner of the 2013 Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Recording, Miller marries his awe-inspiring technique and boundless sense of musical adventure with a pop musician’s desire to make music that moves people. His compositions are inspired by the melodic simplicity and emotional depth of American folk music, and they’ve been praised by Downbeat as “passionate and creative, melodic yet exploratory.”  Miller’s ceaseless drive for originality has led to collaborations with Afro-Peruvian artist Oscar Stagnaro, Latin jazz master Joé Armando, Order of Canada-winning choir director Iwan Edwards, pianist Geoffrey Keezer, cutting-edge percussionist and composer Thom Gossage and ground-breaking New Yorkers Ben Monder, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Geoffrey Keezer and Gary Versace, among others. His most recent album, Dream Cassette, with Sienna Dahlen, was released worldwide in June 2016 to rave reviews, reaching # 1 on Reverbnation in jazz in Montreal, #1 on the CFRC jazz charts and #3 on the !Earshot National Jazz Chart! He toured this project over the next year to festivals near and far.


HANS VERHOEVEN – adult jazz, vocal jazz

Hans has lived and worked in some of the most vibrant music scenes in Canada and abroad.  Recognized for his authenticity, playfulness and creativity, Hans has performed with a wide array of artists from Oscar Stagnaro, Ingrid and Christine Jensen, to Brad Turner, Phil Dwyer, PJ Perry, Brandi Disterheft and Teddy Kumpel. He currently works as the drum instructor at Vancouver Island University.