Primary Instrument: Sax, baritone
Shirantha Beddage is an emerging talent who is swiftly making his mark as an accomplished saxophonist, pianist, composer, arranger, instructor and bandleader. His musicianship and professionalism have earned him the respect of many of the top jazz musicians across Canada and the United States. He is currently the Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Theory at the Schwob School of Music (Columbus State University, Columbus Georgia USA).
Shirantha hails from North Bay, Ontario, Canada, a city that he still considers home. Raised in a musical family, he began studying piano at the age of 5, and the saxophone at age 11. His study of the saxophone and piano led him to numerous local, regional, provincial and national music competitions in his teenage years, including the Huntington All-Star Band and Musicfest Canada. His experience as a multi-instrumentalist led him to the pit orchestras of many of North Bay's amateur and professional theatre productions, in which he conducted and performed on piano, drums, saxophones, and other woodwind instruments. His interests in jazz improvisation led him to many small-group engagements in North Bay and area, as well as an association with local blues guitarist Jake Thomas.
Mr. Beddage received a Bachelor of Music degree from Toronto's Humber College (2002), where he studied saxophone under Canadian notable Pat Labarbera. While at Humber, he received a special award from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in musical arts. He has performed and recorded with many jazz and classical groups in Toronto, including the National Youth Band of Canada, the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, the Toronto Jazz Orchestra and guitarist Ted Quinlan. He has additionally performed in the orchestras of numerous professional and amateur theatre productions. His compositions and arrangements have been featured by college and high school groups across North America, as well as at the Musicfest Canada. He more recently performed at the Toronto Musicfest in 2003 with the Brian Lillos / Steve Houghton Orchestra.
He was featured as a semi-finalist on baritone saxophone at the FMJS East Coast Jazz Festival Solo Jazz Competition 2004 in Rockville, Maryland. In June of 2004, Shirantha was selected to be one of only 15 participants at the world-renowned Ravinia Festival Steans Institute for Young Artists in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked under the tutelage of David Baker, Rufus Reid, James Moody, Danilo Perez and Nathan Davis.
In addition to performance, he spends time teaching private students and conducting workshops with saxophonists, instrumental and choral groups, most recently teaching jazz improvisation, private lessons and ensembles at the William Paterson University Summer Jazz Workshop 2003/4. Musical commitments aside, Shirantha has also worked in audio voice-over production and recording for Toronto's Chum Television, producing and writing voice-overs for CityTv's Mark Dailey and many of the on-air personalities for Canadian channels MuchMusic, Space, and others. He has also performed voice-overs for local television and radio stations and other promotional multimedia in Canada.
Roots and Branches
Jazz Excursion Records
Tracks: Turrentrane; Nearly There; Danushka's Dance; As The Flower Grows; Nightly News; Seoul Sister; RSVP; I'll Be Gone; Le Petit Grenouille.
Personnel: Michael Stryker: piano, Ryan Kotler: bass, Jared Schonig: drums.
As A Side Musician
Suzana da Camara
Suzana da Camara
The Finest Hour
Rose Lily Productions
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