Clarinetist, penny whistle player, composer, and improviser James Falzone is an acclaimed member of the international jazz and creative music scenes, a veteran contemporary music lecturer and clinician, and an award-winning composer who has been commissioned by chamber ensembles, dance companies, choirs, and symphony orchestras around the globe. He leads his own ensembles Allos Musica, Elaía Ensemble, Renga Ensemble, and the duo Wayfaring with Chicago bassist/vocalist Katie Ernst, and is a member of the Tapestry Voice Ensemble and Pneuma, a quartet with clarinetists François Houle, Michael Winograd, and Israeli vocalist Ayelet Gottlieb.
James has released a series of critically acclaimed recordings on Allos Documents, the label he founded in 2000, and appears on numerous recording labels including Delmark, Songlines, and Rounder. James performs throughout North America and Europe, appears regularly on Downbeat magazine's Critics' and Readers' Polls, and was nominated as the Clarinetist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association. He has been profiled in the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, New Music Box, and Point of Departure, among many other publications.
Educated at Northern Illinois University and New England Conservatory, James is also a respected educator and scholar and has been on the faculty of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Deep Springs College, North Central College, Columbia College Chicago, and was a fellow at The Center for Black Music Research. His scholarship on improvisation has been presented at numerous academic conferences and to diverse audiences including admirals at the US Naval War College and executives at Google’s creative retreats.
At present, James is the Chair of Music at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington where he continues the groundbreaking work of that institution’s legacy of experimentation and progressive music education, started by John Cage in the mid 20th century. James is a Backun clarinet artist and plays penny whistles made by Chris Abell. Learn more about James Falzone and his work at his website: www.allosmusica.org
I played the same clarinet for 31 years and took my time deciding what to play next. The Backun Lumíere, partnered with a FatBoy barrel in Cocobolo and a Vocalise H mouthpiece, are allowing me the sort of flexibility I need in the music I play, which may turn from fully notated to open improvisation in a breath. It's a joy to play this instrument and be part of the Backun family.
Photo credit: Shaya Bendix Lyon
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