Dairy farm beginnings to Juno Award-winning musician

World renowned clarinetist, James Campbell, has come a long way since his Leduc Junior High band.

Erik Einsiedel - 22 January 2019

On February 1, 2019, the University of Alberta Department of Music will be thrilled to host Campbell as its special guest musician, headlining the Chamber Music Masterworks with Clarinet concert at Convocation Hall.

With such accolades as a Juno Award, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, and Canada's highest honour, the Order of Canada, Campbell has performed in more than 35 countries in many of the world's greatest concert halls.

We caught up with this accomplished artist to tell us about his illustrious career, and why people should not miss the Chamber Music Masterworks concert.

ARTS NEWS: What is your early history with the clarinet?

JAMES CAMPBELL: I started in the Leduc Junior High band at age 12. I'd also grown up on a dairy farm and had chores to do, usually starting at 6 or 6:30 a.m. In my last year before going off to Toronto to study music, my father still told me to get up early, but instead of doing chores, I should practice clarinet!

AN: Why should people attend the Chamber Music Masterworks with Clarinet concert?

JC: The clarinet has a special spot in the chamber music world: it has the best repertoire of any of the wind instruments, and the pieces being performed at this concert are among the best of the best. Interestingly, two of the works -- the Poulenc Sonata and the Bartók Contrasts -- were written with Benny Goodman in mind. It will also be a chance to hear my wonderful local colleagues perform in an intimate setting.

AN: Can you share one interesting short story from your long career as a musician?

The first time I performed with Glenn Gould was on the telephone, each singing our parts! He had asked me to record the Debussy First Rhapsody with him for CBC television, and a few days before our first rehearsal, he called me and asked me to sing the opening for him so he would know what I liked to do. I started, he joined in, and we sang through the whole 10-minute work together over the phone. That was the first of many wonderful experiences with him over the following five years.

About the Chamber Music Masterworks with Clarinet concert:

James Campbell joins Patricia Tao (piano), Rafael Hoekman (cello) and Robert Uchida (violin) for an evening of 19th and 20th century chamber music classics. The concert will also feature a commissioned piece by Edmonton composer, Allan Gilliland, for clarinet, piano, cello and violin.

February 1, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Convocation Hall
Tickets and Program Info

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