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Alberta-born Allen is known as a charismatic and sensitive alto, tenor and soprano saxophonist.
Colleen began her training with Pat LaBarbera at Humber College. She has continued to pursue her musical education, mentored by such venerable horn players as Vern Dorge, Ralph Bowen, Mike Murley and Kirk MacDonald. In later years, she studied piano with Frank Falco and improvisation with Chase Sanborn and Kelly Jefferson. She continues to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music on clarinet and flute.
Her diverse performances have included sharing the stage with such artists as Anne Murray, Alex Lifeson, Holly Cole, Rita McNeill, Lorraine Segato, Colm WIlkinson, and Manteca. She has performed and recorded widely with vocalist Molly Johnson, performing on saxophone, voice, and accordion.
“Words like beautiful and lovely aren’t mainstays in a critics vocabulary but they keep forcing their way to the front of consciousness in multi-instrumentalist Colleen Allen’s self titled debut CD as leader, ” wrote Geoff Chapman in the Toronto Star in February 2007 of her debut self-title album. The recording features pianists Gord Shear and Dave Restivo, guitarist Rob Piltch, bassist George Koller, and percussionist RIck Lazar..
She has worked with Cirque du Soleil, Soulpepper Theatre, and her group “Women with Horns,” and maintains a busy touring, performing, and recording schedule.