Tony Dunn lives in Ottawa, his home town, and has been an active part of its musical community as composer, conductor, teacher, and professional musician. He grew up with a traditional musical background including piano lessons (up to Grade 10 through the Royal Conservatory of Music), singing in choirs (including the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir, the University of Ottawa’s Calixa Lavalee, and the Ottawa Festival Singers), and playing saxophone in jazz and stage bands throughout high school.
In the Ottawa choral scene, Tony has been the Ottawa Catholic School Board Children’s Choir and Chamber Choir’s accompanist since 2000. He has also been conducting the Ottawa Catholic School Board Boys' Choir for three years and has been part of this ensemble since its inception in 2005. For these choral groups, Tony has composed and arranged many pieces. Primarily in SA an SSA settings, with some SAB and SATB, he has embarked on a wide range of repertoire, including Canadian folk song settings, sacred and original text settings, pieces for multiple choirs, and original compositions featuring improvisation. Many of these pieces have been performed and recorded. The Ottawa Catholic School Board Children’s Choir have been repeated winners in the Kiwanis Festival folk song category performing Tony’s original arrangements. Also, the McGill Conservatory Youth Choir recently performed Tony’s The Candle during a CBC recorded Gala.
As well as choral music Tony composes chamber music, including music for solo piano and string quartet, and arranges music for small ensembles, including jazz bands and jazz quartets. Currently a Graduate Student at University of Ottawa studying music theory, Tony studied with renowned Canadian Composer Stephen Gellman for two years during his undergrad degree. These studies led to exposure of a wide range of compositional techniques from Renaissance counterpoint to modern 20th-century rhythmic and texture practices.
As a teacher Tony has taught private lessons in saxophone, piano, guitar, and theory for over ten years and has worked as musical assistant and assistant conductor with local jazz bands.
As a performer Tony has a history of playing saxophone in numerous blues, soul, and rock’n’roll settings and playing lead guitar and vocals in an original rock band. With his interests leaning increasingly towards jazz and improvisation, he currently plays jazz piano in a jazz quartet setting. In this medium he is developing his rhythmic and harmonic language and ability to spontaneously interact with other musicians in real time. These elements are becoming important components in Tony’s music making.