Jesse Stewart (PhD) is a composer, improviser, percussionist, visual artist, instrument builder, and writer dedicated to reimagining the spaces between artistic disciplines. As a musician, he works primarily in the areas of jazz, new music, and free improvisation. He has performed with many acclaimed musicians from around the world including Pauline Oliveros, George Lewis, Roswell Rudd, Evan Parker, Bill Dixon, William Parker, Joe Mcphee, David Mott, Malcolm Goldstein, Jandek, and many more. He is currently a member of the Juno award winning trio Stretch Orchestra (with virtuoso musicians Kevin Breit and Matt Brubeck) in addition to leading his own group, the Jesse Stewart Ensemble, and performing regularly as a soloist. His music has been featured at festivals throughout Canada, the U.S., and Europe.
He has a remarkable ability to coax sounds out of virtually any resonating object or material. In addition to performing regularly on the drum set, he has performed on instruments made of such unconventional materials as stone, ice, and cardboard. In addition, he is one of the few virtuoso performers of the waterphone, an experimental percussion instrument that consists of bronze rods, steel, and water.
His playing has been described as "truly exciting" (Musicworks 76), "exceptional" (Cadence Oct. 2002), "phenomenal" (Cadence Nov. 1999), and "ingenious" (Exclaim! June 2006). In a 2002 review, Texas-based music critic Frank Rubolino described him as "...one of the finest young drummers and percussionists on the scene today" (One Final Note Summer/Fall 2002). In 2010, he was invited to perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the opening of the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto. In 2012, he received a Juno award for "Instrumental Album of the Year" for Stretch Orchestra's self-titled debut recording, visit stretchorchestra.com. He is a professor of music composition in Carleton University's School for Studies in Art and Culture. For more information, visit jessestewart.ca.