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COMPOSER SHOWCASE

François Houle: Biography

François Houle
1961 -
Region: British Columbia

François Houle

Clarinetist François Houle has established himself as one of Canada’s finest musicians, in all of the diverse musical spheres he embraces: classical, jazz, new music, improvised music, and world music. Growing up Montreal, François studied at McGill University and went on to win the National Debut competition and to complete his studies at Yale University. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in for two years, and at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy in 2005. Now based in Vancouver, François is a leader in the city’s music community and is considered by many to be Canada’s leading exponent of the clarinet.

A West Coast Music Awards and Juno Awards nominee, François has released more than a dozen recordings of his own music on Canadian labels such as Drip Audio, Spool, Songlines, Red Toucan, as well as Germany’s between-the-lines label. His CD “Dice Thrown” with French pianist Benoît Delbecq was awarded “Best Jazz Album of 2002” by France’s Jazzman magazine, and in 1998 and 2004 he was listed by Downbeat magazine as “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition.” François tours extensively, appearing in major festivals across Canada, the United States and Europe. In the fall of 2006 he was a featured soloist with the CBC Radio Orchestra, performing Lutoslowski’s Dance Preludes and a concerto for the Safa Ensemble, his world music trio with Amir Koushkani and Sal Ferreras.

François’ clarinet playing transcends the stylistic borders associated with his instrument, whether he’s playing Mozart or Messiaen or improvising and embracing live, interactive electronics. Inspired by musical innovators such as Steve Lacy, John Carter, William O. Smith and Evan Parker, he has developed a unique improvisational language, virtuosic and rich with sonic embellishment and technical extensions. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has actively expanded the clarinet’s repertoire by commissioning some of today’s leading Canadian and international composers and premiering over one hundred new works, including those by John Oliver, Paul Dolden, Bradshaw Pack, Giorgio Magnanensi, and William O. Smith. During the 2005/2006 Season, he premiered new chamber concerti written for him by both John Korsurd and Yannick Plamondon. In November of 2007 he performed the world premiere of his new concerto for clarinet and chamber ensemble, which was commissioned by the Turning Point Ensemble. This new work will be featured on an upcoming release on ATMA Classical record label. In the field of creative music François has performed with Marilyn Crispell, Myra Melford, Ab Baars, Marc Dresser, Georg Gräwe, Joëlle Léandre, Evan Parker, Dave Douglas, Benoît Delbecq, and Michael Moore.By mastering each of the diverse musical genres he approaches, François demystifies music for his audiences, and has become known as one of today’s most engaging and stimulating musicians. François is on faculty at Vancouver Community College School of Music, and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Creative Music Institute.

Centrestreams

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