Cat Toren is an improviser, composer and jazz pianist. She is a Vancouver native residing in Brooklyn, NY and holds a Masters in Music Composition from the NewYork State University (at Purchase College) alongside her performance career. Accolades include a Juno Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year 2013 with the ensemble Pugs and Crows and numerous grants to fund projects such as a commission for the nine piece new music ensemble, Orkestra Futura, in 2014. Noteworthy performances for Cat include performing at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the 2013 JUNO Awards showcase, Montreal Jazz Festival, Cornelia Street Cafe’s Piano Festival in New York City and more.
Cat’s fourth album features a new project entitled Cat Toren’s HUMAN KIND and has sold copies in over seven countries, receiving critically acclaimed reviews such as “A powerful recording” – Bandcamp Daily (The Best New Jazz on Bandcamp) and “Cat Toren should be a household name. Incredible music for 2017” – UK Vibe. The group has toured the Mid-West, New York area and Western Canada to sold out venues promoting the album and it’s message. The music is influenced by the free-form, socially conscious jazz of the late ’60s as well as today’s resurgent civil rights movement. Jazz, being both music of expression and of the people, has a legacy of standing up for civil rights issues. Keeping with this tradition, proceeds of the album are donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The 2017 Vancouver International Jazz Festival in conjunction with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation asked Cat to be an artist speaker at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Colloquium 2017. The annual topic was Lines of Flight: Improvisation, Hope and Refuge. Cat gave a presentation and lecture entitled Cat Toren’s HUMAN KIND: Music for Empathic Activism and is currently preparing this lecture to be included in a new online journal presented by composer Andrew Yoon.
Cat is passionate about sound studies and sound healing and holds a Sound Healing Training Certificate from the Sage Academy in Woodstock, NY.
MA Composition, State University of New York
BA Jazz Studies Piano Major, Capilano College
Royal Conservatory of Music Piano/Theory 10
Sound Healing Training Certificate, Sage Academy, Woodstock NY
Galaxy Rising Star Award 2010 (Pugs and Crows) Vancouver International Jazz Festival
JUNO Award 2013 Instrumental Album of the Year (Pugs and Crows)
JUNO Nomination 2016 Instrumental Album of the Year (Pugs and Crows featuring Tony Wilson)