Allen | Biography
Alberta born Sax Player and multi-instrumentalist, Colleen Allen first launched her musical career in Toronto.
Colleen began her training with Pat LaBarbera at Humber College. While performing in a variety of musical bands she has continued to pursue her musical education, mentored by such venerable horn players as Vern Dorge, Ralph Bowen, Mike Murley and Kirk MacDonald. In later years, she picked up additional education in Jazz Piano with Frank Falco and Jazz Improvisation with Chase Sanborn and Kelly Jefferson. Despite the respect and accolades she garners from her performances with singer songwriters and bands she continues to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music rounding out her musical palette to include Clarinet and Flute with teachers, Harold Gomez and Dianne Aitken.
Colleen Allen is known as much for her charismatic stage presence as she is for her remarkable ease in fostering a collaborative spirit while playing with others. She has mesmerized audiences throughout Canada and Europe accompanying such notable performers as Alex Lifeson (Rush), Anne Lindsay, Oliver Schroer, Lorraine Segato, The Parachute Club, Colm Wilkinson and Anne Murray. She is currently involved as a soloist and singer in Molly Johnson's band and her improvisational magic can be heard on Johnson's self titled c.d as well as her most recent release, “Messing Around.” Her musical path has led her to a wide range of cultural events. She has shared the stage with such diverse artists as: David Suzuki, Michael Ondaatje and David Clayton Thomas.
What makes Colleen so popular with other players and leaders is her "deep listening," She plays with a beautiful simplicity and lends a keen ear to collaboration with her fellow musicians.
Allen's experiences in pop, jazz, blues, worldbeat and other genres are enriched by skill as a composer and bandleader for theatrical events. She considers her projects with SoulPepper Theatre Company and Cirque de Soleil as some her most rewarding musical undertakings.
For several year's, Allen's' pet project was the formation of the appropriately titled band "Women with Horns" featuring respected players Sarah McElcheran, Ingrid Stitt and Carrie Chessnut. They became a cult staple in the listening diet of the Toronto music scene.
Colleen currently lives in Toronto where, along with a busy touring, recording and teaching schedule, she raises a child.
colleen @ colleenallen.ca