Greg Runions is a Kingstonian who has been active on the music scene in Kingston for the past ten or fifteen years. He grew up in Kingston’s north end, attended Queen Elizabeth Collegiate (QECVI) and went on to study music at Queen’s University. While studying percussion at Queen’s, he was fortunate to be selected to perform with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree from the School of Music he spent a brief period in Windsor as the percussionist with the Windsor Symphony. Following this experience he studied percussion performance at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam N.Y. Greg received his Master of Musical Sciences Degree (with distinction) in 1987. During his undergraduate and graduate studies of traditional and classical percussion with Jim Peterscak and Alex Lepak he continued to be interested in pop and jazz music. In addition to these studies he also studied drum set with local jazz great Chris McCann. This interest continued after completing his formal training and now serves as the focus of his creative music activities.
After attending the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1993 and participating in the Jazz Workshop, Greg has been performing primarily as a vibraphonist, and devoting a lot of his time to composing and arranging music for big band. While in Banff he began a musical relationship with Canadian jazz artist, Kenny Wheeler. This has developed into the Greg Runions Septet which features Greg’s original compositions with Kenny as a featured soloist and several other collaborations that have occurred over the past few years. One of these collaborations was a week-long Big Band Workshop held at Queen’s University in Kingston in July of 1996 and 1997. Kenny’s compositions for big band were presented by an all-star ensemble of young Canadian jazz artists with Kenny as soloist and Greg acting as artistic director and conductor.
Working from Kingston, Greg has been able to combine his love of teaching and musical performance. Greg has been teaching at Queen’s School of Music since 1985, teaching percussion, music curriculum, directing the Queen’s Jazz Ensemble and is active performing as the Timpanist with the Kingston Symphony, leading his own jazz combo, big band and freelancing in a large variety of musical situations.