Jesse Stewart

Jesse Stewart is a Canadian composer, percussionist, instrument builder, artist, educator, and community arts activist dedicated to re-imagining the spaces between artistic disciplines. He has performed and recorded with musical luminaries including Pauline Oliveros, Hamid Drake, William Parker, Joe Mcphee, David Mott, Stretch Orchestra, Michael Snow, and many others. He has been widely commissioned as a composer and artist. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honours including the 2012 Juno award for “Instrumental Album of the Year” and the Order of Ottawa.
In addition to drum set, he plays many rare and unusual percussion instruments including many of his own design.

His music has been heralded by music critics around the world who have described his work as “truly exciting” (Musicworks 76), “phenomenal” (Cadence Nov. 1999), “exceptional” (Cadence Oct. 2002), “ingenious” (Exclaim! June 2006), and “brilliant” (Truths for Serious Drummers, 2012). “Stewart quietly opens the door for us to a limitless world of delicate sonic beauty” writes Randy Raine-Reusch in Musicworks 97. “Highly recommended ear-cleansing” states a review in Italy’s Touching Extremes (2007). “Jesse Stewart is an eloquent and poetically powerful percussionist, composer, improviser and teacher—a man of ideas and inventions,” writes jazz legend William Parker. “Jesse is an incredibly innovative artist. He’s a performance artist, he’s a jazz drummer, he’s an incredible creative force” states Roman Borys, cellist with the internationally acclaimed Gryphon Trio. He has been described as “one of the finest young drummers and percussionists on the scene today” (Frank Rubolino, One Final Note Summer/Fall 2002) and “one of the most innovative musicians in Canada” (OttawaJazzScene, 2015).

A dedicated educator, Stewart has received numerous teaching awards and honours including the Provost’s Fellowship in Teaching and Learning and a Teaching Achievement Award, Carleton University’s highest honours for teaching excellence. In 2017, he was one of five educators in the world selected for a “D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning,” an international award in recognition of innovative teaching. In addition to his professorship in music at Carleton University, Jesse is an adjunct faculty member in the Visual Arts department at the University of Ottawa. He is also the founder of “We Are All Musicians” (WAAM), an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals and groups to make music regardless of age, musical training, socio-economic circumstance, physical and/or cognitive disability. Through the WAAM initiative, Jesse has conducted hundreds of interactive inclusive music workshops and performances throughout North America.