Colin Killalea

Instructor, Saxophone


A Virginia native, Colin began his undergraduate work at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he studied with the renowned Doug Richards, founder of the VCU Jazz Studies program and the Great American Music Ensemble. Colin subsequently earned his BFA in Jazz and Contemporary Music from the New School in New York City, studying with, among others, legendary drummer Billy Hart (Shirley Horn, Jimmy Smith, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, etc).

Colin’s musical touchstones range from Maurice Ravel to Prince, from Duke Ellington to go-go, from bebop to the Beatles – a breadth of influences reflected in Colin’s musical activities. Colin has contributed saxophone, keyboard, guitar, bass, and vocal tracks to albums by Grammy-nominated jazz-pop vocalist Becca Stevens; indie songwriter and singer Amber Arcades; young lions of jazz like saxophonist/composer Logan Richardson and avant drummer Brian Jones (John Abercrombie, Jandek); and guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. of indie-rock icons The Strokes.

As a composer, Colin has contributed to Melodies on Hiatus, Hammond Jr.’s most recent solo album, as well as the acclaimed feature film Waiting for Bojangles. Colin has also released original music as Klauss, a nineties-influenced indie rock duo with Richmond musician and engineer Curtis Fye (Kurt Elling & Charlie Hunter; Kevin Morby; Whitney). He is currently writing the vocal arrangements for Anna K., a musical based on Anna Karenina written by producer/songwriter Chris Keup and celebrated novelist/television creator Arthur Phillips (Damages, Tokyo Vice).

Colin has also worked as a producer and engineer at famed Virginia studios White Star (Charlottesville) and Spacebomb (Richmond), producing albums by Americana singer-songwriter Schuyler Fisk, indie guitarist/vocalist Juliana Daugherty, and trumpeter John D’earth, a luminary of UVa’s Music department and the central figure in Charlottesville’s jazz scene.

While frequently contributing to various music endeavors in Charlottesville and Richmond, Colin has also toured the world, performing on five continents and hitting the stages of the Knitting Factory, the Atrium at Lincoln Center, and ACL Fest. He has appeared on The Late Show With James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel Live! In 2024, Colin will play guitar and saxophone with the GRAMMY award winning band Vampire Weekend.

Colin Killalea brings this variety of musical capacities, interests, and experiences to UVa’s McIntire Department of Music, where he is the Instructor of Saxophone.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176