“Great tunes, great playing, great sound” is how Jazz FM radio host, Larry Green has described Julia Cleveland and her Quintet. The Quintet, Julia’s main artistic project, has been active on the jazz scene with increasingly frequent performances in Toronto’s main jazz clubs over the past couple of years. It has developed a reputation for catchy and sophisticated original music played by fabulous musicians spawning a growing following.
Since studying drums with Kevin Dempsey and composition with Mike Malone and Dave McMurdo at Hamilton’s Mohawk College, Julia has been showcasing her performing and compositional talents through performances with her quintet. Drummer, composer, Julia Cleveland has now emerged as a unique Toronto jazz musician with a breadth of musical experience. In addition to performing with her own jazz ensembles, Julia can be found gracing the stages of Toronto’s jazz venues, in musical theatre orchestra pits and on festival stages.
Julia is also recognized as a leading taiko Japanese drummer in Toronto. She has been a member of, recorded and toured with the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble. As part of the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival she toured Trinidad and Tobago with Isshin Daiko. She is currently the Artistic Director of Isshin Daiko, co-producing their upcoming CD and contributing compositions to their repertoire. She leads a weekly youth taiko group, Jakurai, at the Toronto Buddhist Church. Julia performed as a guest artist with taiko group, Onnanoko and the York Regional Symphony Orchestra.
Julia graduated from University of Toronto earning a Bachelor of Music in Classical percussion, then studied with drum guru, Jim Blackley for several years and later enrolled in the Mohawk College Jazz Program graduating with honours and winning the Rosseau House and Eva Palonek awards.
Past performance history includes playing with numerous community orchestras and symphonies as well as jazz ensembles (including the Chris Gale Quartet, the Mike Grieve Trio, the Joe Lagan Trio and the Darryl Orr Quartet). She has toured Italy, Austria and Ireland with the Brampton Concert Band.
Julia is now composing new works for both her jazz and taiko ensembles which are each planning to release CDs of original material in the new year.