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Meet Brian Katz

Brian Katz is a celebrated guitarist, pianist, recording artist, improviser, composer, and music educator. He knew at an early age that music was his calling.

“I remember bursting into tears upon hearing Louis Armstrong sing on the Ed Sullivan show,” wrote Katz to Music Can Heal about his first cathartic experience with music when he was five years old. “I wanted to be Louis, imitating him throughout my early years in an effort, I suppose, to 'sweat with it all,' the joys, and whatever pained me.”

Eight years later, at the age of 13, Katz began to teach guitar. He described it as “something inside of me drawn to sharing the beauty I was experiencing.”

He has since become an internationally renowned musician known for blending his world and classical musical influences with modern jazz. Katz is also a university teacher of several music related courses at the University of Toronto and York University. Some of these courses include Early Childhood Education, Music Pedagogy, Improvisation, and a new course launched this summer at York University, “Music for Health and Wellness.”

Katz is also a Dalcroze Eurythmics teacher, which examines the intrinsic relationships between movement and music, and he has worked with diabetes and blind populations as a Dalcroze teacher.

His research work in the relationship between movement and music cognition led him to become interested in the health benefits of music through various fields, including physiology, neurology, psychology, philosophy, and sociology.

Katz has also enjoyed sharing his music in bedside concerts with patients at hospitals, as well as with a regular client with Parkinson’s. In addition, one of the unique performances Brian Katz has been involved in is healing stories with his long time storytelling partner, Dan Yashinsky. They’ve shared these stories at various medical conferences and festivals throughout the 35 years they have performed together.

Katz spoke about the importance of not just music and healing in the future, but arts in general.

“There’s going to be an ageing population. There’s going to be more people that are not just music therapists proper, but doing various initiatives integrating the arts and the healing fields and there are all kinds of ways to achieve wonderful results.”

Come and enjoy Katz and Yashinksy's free performance of "Twisted Tunes & Stories of Surprise" on June 29, 2016 at Music Can Heal's Summer Concert Series at Earl Bales Park, 7:30-9 pm. Brought to you by Toronto Arts Foundation's Arts in the Parks Program.

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