Jen Allen is a pianist, composer, author and educator. She frequently performs in New York, the Northeast US and in venues throughout the world, as the leader of her own groups or as a member of other creative music ensembles. Notable appearances include the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Cambridge Festival of the Arts, Greater Hartford Monday Night Jazz Series and Wexford Performing Arts Centre (Ireland).
Jen has performed with many notable artists, including Don Braden, Jimmy Greene, Kendrick Oliver, Sarah Caswell, Camille Thurman, Freddie Hendrix, Nat Reeves, Kris Allen, Ike Sturm and Antoinette Montague. In 2011, Jen was chosen as one of only eight pianists from around the world to participate in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Workshop at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, presenting a trio concert and working with Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lynne Arriale and Sherrie Maricle.
An active recording artist, Jen is featured on many albums including her 2011 debut, Pieces of Myself, 2018’s Raise Up by collaboratively led Trio 149, her upcoming quartet recording, Sifting Grace, as well as numerous other releases as a side-person.
Jen composes music for big bands, studio orchestras, string quartet and other smaller ensembles. She has been commissioned to compose music for several universities and grade schools. She was a member of the prestigious BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in New York City, a colloquium of the foremost up-and-coming writers of large ensemble jazz music today.
In November of 2018 Jen was a composer-in-residence for St. Peter’s Church (NYC) Jazz Lauds and received a commission from Spark and Echo for her piece “Kurinji.”. Starting in 2018 Jen has curated and produced a concert series in West Hartford, CT called “Bring It Home” that features musicians from all over the world, including Brazil, Romania and Italy in the company of local Connecticut musicians, all in collaboration with local visual artists. In 2017, Jen was the music director and arranger for the Litchfield Jazz Festival Orchestra where she arranged 7 pieces of music for a 10-piece ensemble.
Jen has received degrees in performance and composition from The Hartt School and UMASS Amherst. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Trinity College in Hartford where she directs the Jazz Ensemble and teaches jazz history and music business. Jen is also Visiting Faculty at Bennington College where she directs the jazz ensemble, teaches jazz arranging and teaches piano lessons.
Jen has also held positions at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and the University of Hartford, and has presented master classes, clinics and served as a guest conductor at schools throughout the U.S. and world. Jen has been a senior teaching artist for Litchfield Performing Arts since 2010. Her first jazz piano method book was published through Alfred's Publishing entitled Sitting In: Jazz Piano (co-authored with Noah Baerman). The book was the recipient of Music Inc. Magazine's Editor's Choice Award 2015.