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Francois Houle

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Biography of Francois Houle

Clarinetist François Houle has established himself as one of today’s most inventive musicians, in all of the diverse musical spheres he embraces: classical, jazz, new music, improvised music, and world music. Whether he’s performing works by Mozart or Messiaen, appearing as a featured soloist with orchestra, or improvising and embracing live, interactive electronics, François demystifies music for audiences everywhere.

Inspired by collaborations with the world’s top musical innovators, François has developed a unique improvisational language, virtuosic and rich with sonic embellishment and technical extensions. A sought after 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. He has collaborated with leading ensembles in Canada, including Turning Point Ensemble, Standing Wave, Bozzini Quartet, Fibonacci Trio, among others. He has twice been listed by Downbeat magazine as a “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” and was hailed as a “Rising Star” in Downbeat’s 2008 Critics’ Poll.

His extensive touring has led to solo appearances at major festivals across Canada, the United States and Europe, and he has released more than a dozen recordings, earning multiple Juno Award and West Coast Music Award nominations. In 2006, François was the featured soloist in Lutosławski’s Dance Preludes with the CBC Radio Orchestra, a performance hailed by the Los Angeles Times. In 2007, he composed and premiered a concerto for clarinet which he went on to record with the Turning Point Ensemble for a 2009 world wide release on the ATMA Classique label.

François studied at McGill University, went on to win the National Debut competition, and completed his studies at Yale University. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, and was a featured soloist in the International Clarinet Association’s 2007 and 2008 ClarinetFests. He is a faculty member at the Vancouver Community College School of Music, and in 2006 he became Artistic Director of the Vancouver Creative Music Institute. In 2008 he was appointed as “Associate Composer” of the Canadian Music Centre.

François Houle is a Backun artist and clinician. He plays LeBlanc design by Backun Legacy clarinets, Backun mouthpieces, bells, and barrels.

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