François Houle’s impassioned clarinet performances reveal a highly original artistic voice. His uncanny ability to hop between musical genres with characteristic aplomb and vitality makes him one of the most distinctive and versatile clarinetist of his generation. 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, ECM, 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 and 2012 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 two 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, Graduate Clarinet Studio instructor at the University of British Columbia, and was Artistic Director of the Vancouver Creative Music Institute from 2006 to 2011. In 2008 he was appointed Associate Composer at the Canadian Music Centre.