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Will Fisher

This week’s featured artist is drummer Will Fisher, who participated in our Jazzology program in 2009.

A native of Nova Scotia, Will made the move to Toronto to attend Humber College, where he received his Bachelor of Applied Music in Jazz Performance. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Louisville and was selected to be a member of the Jamey Aebersold International Masters Quartet. Studying drums and composition, Will received his Masters of Music in Jazz Performance before relocating back to Toronto.

As an emerging artist on the Canadian jazz scene, Will has performed throughout North America with artists including Terence Blanchard, Rich Brown, Mike Downes, Mikko Hilden, Jim Lewis, Kirk MacDonald, Joel Miller, Kieran Overs, Chris Potter, Don Thompson, Paul Tynan, and Nancy Walker.

He has also toured and performed alongside many singer songwriters including: Joshua Van Tassel, Jennah Barry, Matthew Bailey, Ian Sherwood, Aidan Knight, and Coco Love Alcorn.

As a bandleader, Fisher leads the Coastal Quartet, which released its debut recording, Portage, in 2011 to wide critical acclaim. He is the past winner of the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award, the Chico Berardi Award from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and has been nominated for ECMA Jazz Recording of the Year.

Will took some time to reflect on his experience in the Jazzology program and to discuss his thoughts on his development as an artist:

1) Describe your experience with the Jazzology program. What was your favourite aspect?
It was really a great experience being a guest on the show. I really liked that I was able to play some recordings that I was a member of, but also to pick some of my favourite recordings at that time to share. Being able to share the music of influential musicians on the show was a nice way for me to pay them a small bit of tribute for their contribution and inspiration to my musical path.

2) What is your strongest memory of the Jazzology program? Are there any funny stories or incidents that come to mind?
The whole experience was fun, and it was really interesting getting to present some original recordings. On the funny side, being from Nova Scotia, I hadn’t found myself in that area of Toronto before, so while on my way there I managed to get a little lost and was worried about being late. On the upside, I did find a great coffee shop during my misadventure!

3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians?
I would fully recommend Jazzology to any musician who has the opportunity. It’s a great way to feature music you’ve been working on, and pay forward tribute to your musical heroes and influences.

4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?
It helped me to think about song selection, and how to make each song count in an hour program. How to (hopefully) make a connection with the listeners with the songs you play, the stories you tell, and the conversation you have.

5) This program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?
I would thank them for enabling students across Toronto to showcase their music locally and around the world! I think you’re keeping a very important message alive and vibrant. Thank you!

6) Why is music education important?
Music education is important as it gives aspiring musicians the chance to study and work closely with fantastic musicians, whether it be their teachers, fellow students, or visiting and guest artists. You have four full years to focus on your passion, and try to get as much accomplished as possible.

7) Since participating in the program, what have you been doing?
Since Jazzology, I graduated from Humber College and was offered a full scholarship to attend the University of Louisville as a member of the Jamey Aebersold International Jazz Quartet. I studied there for two years earning a Masters of Music (Jazz Performance). I’ve also been performing across Canada, and have released my own debut album Portage which was nominated for East Coast Music Award Jazz Recording of the Year. I have also been on albums by Mikko Hilden, Olivier Clements, and the soon to be released Woodhouse Quintet record in November.

8) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?
I still find myself listening to all kinds of different music. Lately I’ve been really enjoying the Ahmad Jamal Trio, Mike Downe’s Parallel Streams Ensemble, Studio One compilations, and many Canadian singer songwriters.

9) What are your plans for the future?
To continue learning and playing with different musicians in Toronto, and Canada. I suppose I’ll probably start prepping for my second album this winter when I have more time to write and I am able to focus on a single project. Besides that, I plan to keep playing!

10) How can people learn more about you and your activities?
My website is my main internet hub, which can be found at, I also have a Facebook group for my solo project at

Jazzology is proudly sponsored by RBC Emerging Artists Project.

About RBC and the Arts
RBC sponsors a wide-range of grassroots and local initiatives that contribute to the cultural fabric of our communities. Proud to support events and passions that resonate with our clients and all Canadians, RBC provides opportunities for up-and-coming artists through programs such as the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, one of the largest competitions of its kind in the world; and the RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition, part of our commitment as the Official Bank and major sponsor of the world’s top public film festival – the Toronto International Film Festival®.

Learn More about the RBC Emerging Artists Project


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