Two-time JUNO-nominated musician Shirantha Beddage is a baritone saxophonist, composer and educator from Toronto, Canada. His original music combines influences from hard bop and modern jazz to create a sound that is both accessible and sophisticated.
He has released three critically-acclaimed albums as a leader. His debut album, Roots and Branches, was released in 2007 on Jazz Excursion Records. His follow-up album, Identity (2012) was nominated for a JUNO award for Traditional Jazz Album of the year in 2013. His newest album, Momentum (2016), featuring drummer Will Kennedy of the Yellowjackets, was nominated for Jazz Album of the Year (Solo) at the 2017 JUNO awards. As a sideman, has been featured on recordings with numerous artists such as Don Thompson, Suzie Arioli, Laila Biali, Nancy Walker and Mike Downes.
His compositional skills have garnered him accolades such as the 2013 Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival for his compositions “Baker’s Dozen” and “Winds of Change”. In 2014, he also composed and performed incidental music for the first season of the Emmy-winning FX TV series Fargo, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman. Compositions from his album Momentum won him a spot as a finalist in the 2017 Canadian Songwriting Competition.
Shirantha currently serves as Head of Theory and Harmony in the Humber College Music department, where he teaches courses in Music Theory, Pedagogy, and Ensemble. Shirantha was previously Director of Jazz Studies at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music (Columbus, Georgia, USA). He also adjudicates regularly at festivals throughout the country including MusicFest Canada, where he serves as Vice-Chairman of Instrumental Jazz.
He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (D.M.A.) in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music (New York, USA), a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from William Paterson University (New Jersey, USA), and a Bachelor of Music degree from Humber College (Toronto, Canada). Shirantha is a Yamaha saxophone artist and performs on the YBS-62.
Selected Awards and Achievements
- 2017: JUNO award nominee as leader (Momentum)
- 2017: JUNO award nominee as sideman (Order of Canada Band: Sweet Canadiana)
- 2017: Canadian Songwriting Competition Finalist (honourable mention for the song “Momentum: For Bernard Hermann”)
- 2014: Composed and performed music for the Golden-Globe nominated FX TV series Fargo
- 2013: Galaxie Rising Star Award winner, Montreal Jazz Festival (for the compositions “Baker’s Dozen” and “Winds of Change”)
- 2013: JUNO award nominee as leader (Identity)
Interviews and Reviews
- Review of Momentum on All About Jazz (2016)
- Review of Momentum on jazzdagama.com (2016)
- Interview with Michael Bourne, 2013 (WBGO, New York City)
- Interview for The Jazz Session podcast, hosted by Jason Crane, December 2013
- Interview on CBC Fresh Air with Mary Ito, February 2013 (click link and scroll down)
- Review of Identity in The Whole Note Magazine, March 2013
- Review of “Roots and Branches” in Cadence magazine, 2007 (PDF)