Dylan van der Schyff

Instructor - Jazz Studies

 “Mr. van der Schyff spins out essayistic passages of texture.“ 

New York Times

“…a master manipulator, tests and expands common notions of timbre…”

Down Beat

- “…van der Schyff exemplified creativity in simplicity, working solely with a traditional drum kit… He remains deeply in the pocket of the great jazz drummers…”


- “One of this countryʼs finest musicians.”
Kenny Werner

Dylan van der Schyff was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1970. He now makes his home in Vancouver, Canada, where he lives with his wife, cellist Peggy Lee, and their two children. Van der Schyff attended the schools of music at the University of Victoria and, briefly, McGill University; and he studied military drumming while with the Band of the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa. He received his MA from Simon Fraser University and is currently engaged in graduate research in music psychology at the University of Sheffield in the UK.

As a performer and producer, van der Schyff has appeared on close to 100 recordings spanning the genres of jazz, electro-acoustic, improvised, experimental and new music; he has performed in almost every major centre in Europe and North America including international festivals in Berlin, Lisbon, Stockholm, New York, Chicago, Montreal, Trento (Italy) and Molde (Norway); and he has collaborated in numerous interdisciplinary projects involving theatre, dance and film. A partial list of notable performance and recording collaborators includes: George Lewis, Joelle Léandre, Dave Douglas, Mark Helias, Peggy Lee, Eyvind Kang, Nicole Mitchell, Brad Turner, Tony Wilson, Wayne Horvitz, Marilyn Crispell, Torsten Muller, Robin Holcolmb, Michael Moore, Ellery Eskelin, Sylvie Courvoisier, Rob Mazurek, Talking Pictures, Ken Vandermark, Paul Rutherford, John Butcher, Tobias Delius, Louis Sclavis, Evan Parker, Mark Dresser, Fred Frith, and Gary Peacock. Van der Schyff has also performed as a sideman with Roswell Rudd, John Zorn, Butch Morris, Misha Mengelberg, Georg Graewe, Oliver Lake, Wadada Leo Smith and the Kenny Werner Sextet with Randy Brecker.

Van der Schyff has served on the music faculty at Capilano University in Vancouver, Canada, since 2009. He also served on faculty at the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music between 2002-2005, and at the Vancouver Institute for Creative Music in 2006. Additionally, he has given seminars and workshops at the University of Indiana and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Van der Schyff has appeared on Austrian television and Swedish radio as well as NPR, the CBC and Radio Canada. Articles about his work as an improviser have appeared in publications such as Downbeat, Jazz Times, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, The Wire, Coda, and MUZIK.

Photo by Peter Gannushkin


- Warburton, D. “Dylan van der Schyff: Back Seat Driver” in The Wire, June, 2008
- Gilbert, A. “Dylan van der Schyff: Toys R Him” in Jazz Times, November, 2005
- Jenkins, T. Free Jazz and Free Improvisation: An Encyclopedia, Volume 2 (p.365) Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004
- Hale, J. “Young Drums: 13 Who Set the Beat For The Future” in Downbeat, 2003
- Corbett, J. “Dylan van der Schyff” in The Chicago Reader, October, 2001
- Miller, M. Miller Companion to Jazz in Canada. Toronto: Mercury Press, 2001
- Buium, G. “Peggy Lee and Dylan van der Schyff: Common Language” in Down Beat, July, 2001
- Miller, M. “The Globe and Mail Young Leaders.” In The Globe and Mail, July 1st, 2000


- Way Out Northwest, with John Butcher, Torsten Muller **** 1/2 stars All Music Guide
- Mountain Passages, with the Dave Douglas Quintet **** stars Down Beat 
- The Definition of a Toy, with Michael Moore, Brad Turner, Achim Kaufmann, Mark Helias **** Jazzman, France
- Bow River Falls, with Dave Douglas, Louis Sclavis, Peggy Lee **** stars Down Beat
- Floating 1…2…3, with Peggy Lee, Michael Moore **** stars Down Beat