Article from Mount Allison University Department of Music
Tim Snyder says: “I was privileged to study saxophone at Wilfrid Laurier University with Dr. James Kalyn.”
James Kalyn was appointed Assistant Professor of single reeds and conducting at the Mount Allison University Music Department in 2011. Lauded by his colleagues and students as a “world-class doubler,” Dr. Kalyn has built a career over the past twenty-five years as a soloist and orchestral musician of the highest calibre on both saxophone and clarinet. Grand prize winner of the prestigious Canadian Music Competitions’ International Stepping Stone division, as well as one of the USA’s highest honours, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, James Kalyn has built an international career as a performer, conductor, and pedagogue.
As a concert saxophonist James Kalyn has performed throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Argentina, China, and Japan. As a clarinetist Kalyn won his first professional orchestra position while still an undergraduate student, and has played in orchestras continuously since that time, including the orchestras of Greensboro and Winston-Salem North Carolina, London and Windsor Ontario as well as RED in Cleveland and the Carolina Chamber Symphony. He plays saxophone in the Cleveland Orchestra – one of the “big five” American orchestras and one of the finest symphony orchestras in the world – and has also played bass clarinet with them. Proficient also on flute and bassoon, Kalyn has played for over 30 theatrical productions including the Toronto productions of Phantom of the Opera and Crazy for You, and touring Broadway productions such as Cabaret, Grand Hotel, and Guys and Dolls. About his musicianship, Napoleón Cabrera of Argentina’s CLARIN wrote: “James Kalyn deserves plenty of recognition for his pure technique, for his intelligence in displaying meaning, and for introducing that inner shade of abandon…without disturbing his execution” and Mark Carrington of THE WASHINGTON POST described his playing as “Carefully cultivated shades of haunting beauty and singing simplicity…”
Graduating with a DMA from the Eastman School of Music, James Kalyn studied classical and jazz saxophone and has played as a professional jazz musician on both clarinet and saxophone throughout his career with such luminaries as Ray Charles and The Manhattan Transfer. He teaches both classical and jazz styles and many of his students have gone on to careers as jazz musicians.
In addition to his performing career, James Kalyn brings to Mount Allison extensive experience as a conductor. During his tenure as Director of the Wind Ensemble and Professor of Saxophone at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Kalyn conducted hundreds of works from the wind repertoire, and promoted new works as well. He conducted a summer festival orchestra in North Carolina for many years, has guest conducted professional orchestras in China as well as the Oberlin Wind Ensemble, and is the conductor for the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra. As a teacher and conductor, he has taught at the University of Western Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ithaca College, Youngstown State University, and two of the most prestigious conservatories in North America, the Eastman School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory. He has taught everything from applied music and musicianship to theory, jazz improvisation and conducting. Consistent with Mount Allison’s liberal arts philosophy, James Kalyn enjoys working with all ranges of musicians, from elite performers through beginning students. Kalyn was a founding faculty member of the New Horizons music program, a pioneering project to teach music to older adults. He directed his own group for years and helped to found three others.
As a scholar and pedagogue, Dr. Kalyn has published over a dozen articles and reviews, including three peer-reviewed pieces for Saxophone Journal, the saxophone world’s scholarly publication, and MLA Notes. Recently Kalyn has developed connections with China and has travelled to China over a dozen times to conduct, perform, teach, or, in his capacity as Program Director of the Oberlin Conservatory’s relationships in China, to administer programs and manage orchestra tours. Kalyn studies Mandarin and is working on projects to develop woodwind pedagogy and performance practices in China. He hopes to develop international exchange opportunities in China for Mount Allison students. He has made eight recordings as soloist, orchestral player and conductor and has been heard on CBC’s Disc Drive, Morningside, Gilmour’s albums, Gaberau, and NPR’s Performance Today.
In the winter of 2011 Kalyn was in residence in Miami with the Cleveland Orchestra. He also recorded Clear Sky for soprano saxophone and ensemble by American Joshua Levine, having performed the North American Premiere of the work in 2010 with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble. In the spring of 2011 he recorded one of the greatest works in the repertoire, Alexander Glazounov’s Concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra. Kalyn’s 2011 season also includes debut performances at Mount Allison on both clarinet and saxophone, and another extensive European Tour as a member of the Cleveland Orchestra.