Peter Cavanagh is a jazz saxophonist in the Greater Toronto area. His aspirations for music began at 12 when he began to play the recorder, and from there on music has been a huge part of his life. Soon after he began to study at “Merriam School of Music“ in Oakville where his passion for music grew. At Merriam, Peter studied with saxophonists, Vernon Dorge, and Pol Cousee. In Grade 10 Peter won an award for “Outstanding Jazz Soloist” at an international festival involving high school jazz and concert bands.
Influences of his include Charlie Parker, Artie Shaw, Dexter Gordon, Marcus Miller, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock, and Chris Potter to name a few. While he is open to all forms of music, Peter focuses his listening and learning to jazz styles such as swing, bebop, modal jazz, funk, and Latin jazz. Peter is also a skilled clarinetist and flutist.
In Grade 12 Peter accepted his offer to York University’s music program. After his first year he received the “Elmes-Bedford Prize for Jazz Performance”, an award given to one student a year who shows potential to be a strong jazz musician. At York, he studies with Canadian icons such as Kelly Jefferson, Kevin Turcotte, Mark Eisenman, Barry Elmes, Al Henderson, Frank Falco and Lorne Lofsky. Peter participates in every musical opportunity he can at York, seeing each experience as a step towards becoming a more skilled, knowledgeable musician.
Peter was also a member of the Toronto-All Star big band, where he has played a large repertoire of big band jazz music. He has worked as a tenor saxophone player, a lead clarinet player, and a lead alto saxophone player. Travelling with the band, Peter has had the opportunity to play at prestigious venues and festivals such as The Palais Royale, Casa Loma, The Port Hope Jazz Festival and The Beaches International Jazz Festival. As a part of the band, he has also had the opportunity to play with jazz icons such as Peter Appleyard, Benny Golson, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and Doc Severinsen.
Peter is developing a career as a jazz musician, but is also considering pursuing a Master’s Degree or going to Teacher’s College. He continues to pursue his musical career, continuously learning all that he can and pushing the boundaries of his playing to become the best musician he can be.