Michelle Gregoire, MMus
Pianist and composer Michelle Grégoire’s music has been described as “ingenious”, “elegant”, “balanced”, and “original with great depth and imagination”. She has toured across Canada with her own projects and her music is heard regularly on XM Radio and Galaxie satellite jazz programs. An active freelance musician since 1984, Michelle Grégoire maintains a solid reputation as a sideperson and band leader having backed up artists in all genres. Grégoire holds jazz degrees from St. Francis Xavier University (1988, 1990), a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the Florida State University (1993). Grégoire has also studied privately with world-renowned composers Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmeyer.
Currently an active freelance musician in Calgary (formerly Winnipeg), Michelle maintains a solid reputation as a sideperson and band leader having worked with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra since its inception in 1997, as well as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Prime Time Big Band, The Calgary Jazz Orchestra, The Fox Big Band and the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble. She has worked and recorded with Amy Bishop and Ralf Bushmeyer, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra and she has performed with Tyler Hornby, Jeremy Brown, Simon Fisk and many more. Michelle has also appeared with renowned artists such as Amy Sky, Marc Jordan, Steve Bell, Tom Jackson, Brian Hughes, Liberty Silver, Daniel Lavoie and Marie-Denise Pelletier. She has appeared with prominent jazz figures such as Dave Young, Rob McConnell, Peter Appleyard, VEJI (Vancouver Ensemble of Jazz Improvisation), Byron Stripling, Mike Murley, Al Kay, and Phil Dwyer to name a few.
She is very active in the world of Musical Theatre having performed in the pit orchestras of Theatre Calgary’s Secret Garden (2018), Crazy For You (2017), Mary Poppins (2014), Anne of Green Gables(2013) and CATS (2012). She has worked as part of Stage West Calgary’s production of Pure 90s (2017-18), 80’s Solid Gold (2014-15). She has also performed in pit orchestras in Winnipeg for productions such as Hairspray (2011 Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg), Grease (Manitoba Warehouse Theater), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg, and also Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg featuring Jimmy Osmond), and Fiddler On The Roof (Winnipeg). Additionally, she worked with theatre reviews Divas of Pop I and II (1999-2000), and Masters of Pop (1999-2000).
As a leader, she released two quintet recordings featuring her own compositions and arrangements. Both releases Reaching and Diversity earned a nomination as Outstanding Jazz Recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards and both recordings enjoy continued airplay making the top ten lists on jazz radio programs throughout North America. Her music is regularly featured on XM Radio’s Real Jazz and on Galaxie Radio programs.
Michelle’s big band compositions have been aired on CBC’s Silence on Jazz, Afterhours, Arts Encounters, Atlantic Airwaves, Jazz Beat, and have been performed and recorded by many ensembles, most notably by the McGiill Jazz Ensemble I, The Toronto Jazz Orchestra, The Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra, the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra and the Banff Jazz Orchestra. In 2007 Michelle was commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and the CBC to create a suite for jazz trio and string orchestra and in 1998, she received a Manitoba Arts Council Commission and Development Grant to compose a large scale work for the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra which was recorded and released on the WJO’s self-titled CD as well as the WJO's Canada 150 Suite (nominated for a WCMA award 2019).
A devoted clinician and educator, Michelle has taught privately since 1988 and works regularly in Calgary schools as a jazz piano clinician. She has been a featured clinician in many colleges and high schools across Canada, namely Humber College, ST F X U, Capilano College and more. She is a sessional faculty member with Ambrose University in Calgary teaching jazz piano. In Winnipeg she held adjunct teaching positions at the Canadian Mennonite University as an applied jazz piano teacher and was one of the jazz ensemble instructors at the University of Manitoba prior to the establishment of the current jazz program (1993-95). She was on Faculty at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts teaching private lessons in jazz piano, jazz theory and composition. While at the Florida State University, Michelle was a teaching assistant, directed the FSU Jazz Ensemble II, taught private students, and some improvisation courses. Many of her former students are engaged professionally as performers, composers, producers and educators across Canada and the US.