Jean-Michel Pilc (credit: Conor Nickerson)

Jean-Michel Pilc (credit: Conor Nickerson)


Based in Montreal, Canada, the Improvisation Workshop Project (IWP) brings together musicians of all backgrounds and experience levels (students and professional musicians, jazz and classical) to explore the tradition of jazz as “improvised chamber music” based on collective improvisation. Weekly playing sessions assemble different casts of musicians to try new ideas and interpret new material brought by project lead Jean-Michel Pilc and other participants. Using an “improvisation as instant composition" approach and the collective improvisational process, the IWP investigates how such diverse disciplines as composition, orchestration, musical interpretation and improvisation combine organically into a coherent whole in jazz music, and also how a diverse lineup of musicians can hold natural and meaningful musical conversations. 

The project's innovative research approach involves thorough documentation of the creative improvisation process, including post-playing session journals logged by all participants, allowing them to share their thoughts on the artistic process. By drawing from musicians’ insider perspectives, this archive provides a unique research resource for the study of improvisation-composition within a variable medium-size jazz ensemble.

Watch a documentary by Randy Cole on the IWP here.

The IWP is funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC).


Project Team

Jean-Michel Pilc (principal investigator), Kevin Dean (investigator), Rémi Bolduc (investigator), Chris Maskell (assistant) and Sebastian Bailey (assistant).

Past Project Participants

Mike De Masi, Aaron Dolman, John Buck, Jean-Nicolas Trottier, Alexis French, Cole Birney-Stewart, Thomas Daudlin, Pierre Mendola, Marika Galea, Thom Gossage, Claire Devlin, Jonathan Chapman, Emily Denison, Jim Doxas, Alex Francoeur, Daniel Arthur, Levi Dover, David Hodgson, Patrick Smith, Jason Davis, Laura Anglade, Julian Jayme, Eric Maillet, Rémi-Jean LeBlanc, Michel Lambert, Joel Miller, Frank Lozano, Christine Jensen, Hannah Darroch, Felix Del Tredici, Jonathan Orland, Juan Sebastian Delgado, Annie Dominique, Marshal Herridge, Elizabeth Provencher, Alex Dodier, Émile Farley, Jean-Daniel Thibault-Desbiens, Sebastian Bailey, Finn McConnell, Summer Kodama


All website photos by Conor Nickerson.