Under the visionary leadership of Ajay Heble, The Guelph Jazz Festival — winner of the 2010 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and a three-time recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award of the Arts (1997, 2000, 2001) — has achieved a rock-solid international reputation as one of the world’s most inspired and provocative musical events. As the founder and Artistic Director of the Festival, Heble has inspired an appreciation of improvised and avant-garde music and delighted aficionados from around the world with his innovative and daring programming. Heble is also an accomplished pianist with a long background as a performer. His first CD, a live set of improvised music called Different Windows with percussionist Jesse Stewart, was released on the IntrepidEar label in 2001. All proceeds from this recording, as from the live concert of improvised music it documents, have gone towards the Festival. Heble has also participated as a musician in concerts and recordings in support of a range of charitable or not-for-profit organizations. He has performed in recent years with John Heward’s Murray Street Band, Pauline Oliveros, Ellen Waterman, Lori Freedman, Eddie Prévost, Rob Clutton, and others. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Heble was active performing and composing music for various avant-garde jazz, alternative rock, and electronic bands, working with artists such as Richard Underhill, Don McKellar, and many others. He has performed at numerous venues including the Harbourfront Centre, the El Mocambo, The Edge, the Music Gallery, and the Sala Rossa.
- Performer (piano, melodica, percussion)