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James Stager

James Stager
James Stager Photo
  • Faculty, Royal Conservatory School
  • Examiner


Theory & History

Educational Background:

  • BMus (Education), The University of Western Ontario
  • BEd (Music and French), University of Toronto
  • ARCT, The Royal Conservatory
  • MMus (Performance, Trombone), The University of Western Ontario
  • PhD, ABD (Music), York University

A highly sought-after teacher, James Stager is on the faculty at The Royal Conservatory as well as at several of Toronto’s performing arts schools, where he teaches low brass, music theory, music history, and jazz improvisation. He also teaches music theory at York University.

Jamie Stager studied trombone with Murray Crewe (Pittsburgh Symphony), Alastair Kay (Humber College, Toronto), David Martin (Orchestra Metropolitain, Montréal), Ian MacDougall (Rob McConnell's Boss Brass), Hal Crook (Berklee College of Music, Phil Woods Quintet), Chris Washburne (Columbia University), Frank Crisafulli (Chicago Symphony), and Ed Kleinhammer (Chicago Symphony). Jamie studied jazz under Canadian icons Phil Nimmons and Oliver Jones.

Mr. Stager has given several papers at prominent conferences, including: “'The Eternal Triangle': Phenomenology, Performance and Pedagogy," presented at the Leeds International Jazz Conference (Leeds School of Music, UK, March 2010); "Latin Jazz, Improvisation and Transnational Flow: Hal Crook’s Performance of 'Brazil',” presented at the Sound in Circulation Conference (Columbia University, New York, March 2009); “'With a Song in My Heart': Voice Leading and Structure in Song, Arrangement and Improvisation," presented at the Cardiff University Music Analysis Conference (Cardiff, UK, September 2008); and “'Moment’s Notice': Translating the Experience of Improvisation into Jazz Pedagogy," presented at the SSHRC Research Project Conference on Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (Montréal, June 2008).

As a member of The Conservatory’s College of Examiners, Jamie Stager adjudicates woodwind, brass, and percussion examinations throughout Canada and the USA in addition to evaluating written examinations in music theory and history.

He leads a busy career as a trombonist, pianist, and educator in Toronto, Ontario, and is frequently heard in concert halls, festivals, and nightclubs in a wide variety of musical settings including symphony orchestras (Toronto Philharmonia), musical theatre (Shaw Festival and Soulpepper Theatre), world music (Moda Eterna, Caché), and jazz groups (Big Rude Jake, Red Hot Ramble). Jamie's performing career has taken him to festivals and concert venues throughout North America and Europe. He has appeared with a diverse list of artists including the Temptations, the Four Tops, Big Sugar, Matt Dusk, Bobby Vinton, Ben Heppner, Michael Burgess, NOJO, and many others.

As a leading examiner Jamie Stager has set several sessions of music history examinations. Most recently he was chosen to lead seminars for US examiners attending the RCM's Adjudicator Certification Program in January of 2013.