Selected Recordings

Brahms: The Clarinet and Piano Quintets

After Hours



Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in b minor Op. 115
James Campbell, clarinet and the Allegri String Quartet

James Campbell, clarinet


James Campbell has followed his muse to five television specials, more than 40 recordings, over 30 works commissioned, a Juno Award (Stolen Gems), a Roy Thomson Hall Award, Canada's Artist of the Year, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and Canada's highest honor, the Order of Canada.

Called by the Toronto Star "Canada's pre-eminent clarinetist and wind soloist", James Campbell has performed solo and chamber music concerts in 30 countries in many of the worlds great concert halls: London's Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Tokyo's Suntory Hall, Paris's Theatre Champs-Elysees, Washington's Kennedy Centre and Symphony Hall, Boston. He has been soloist with over 60 orchestras, including the Boston Pops, the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Russian Philharmonic, and the Montreal Symphony and has performed Copland's Clarinet Concerto four times with Aaron Copland conducting. He has appeared with over 30 string quartets, including the Amadeus (when he replaced an ailing Benny Goodman on a tour of California), Guarneri, Vermeer, New Zealand, Fine Arts, Allegri and St Lawrence Quartets.


Of Campbell's extensive discography many have won international acclaim. His recording of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet with the Allegri Quartet was voted "Top Choice" by BBC Radio 3 and the London Times and Stolen Gems, a recording of lighter classics, won a Juno Award (Canada's Grammy). James has recorded with the London Symphony (the world premiere recording of Brahms Sonata Op. 120 No. 1 orchestrated by Luciano Berio and Weber Concerto No.1), the Philharmonia (Debussy Premier Rhapsody), the London Philharmonic (Saint-Saens Tarantella), and the NACO (Mozart and Copland Concertos). Sony Classical has recently re-released his recording of the Debussy Premier Rhapsody with Glenn Gould.

Since 1985, James Campbell has been Artistic Director of the Festival of the Sound, the annual summer Canadian chamber music festival, and has programmed over 1300 concerts for the festival. Under his direction the Festival has traveled to England, Japan, and the Netherlands and it has been the subject of documentaries by BBC Television, CBC Television and TV Ontario.

Campbell is the subject of numerous features and cover stories in Clarinet Magazine (USA), Clarinet and Sax (UK), Piper Magazine (Japan), Gramophone, and in the book Clarinet Virtuosi of Today, by British author and clarinet authority Pamela Weston.

James continues to explore and expand musically, his most recent collaboration being Spirit '20, created at Festival of the Sound in, 2010. The six member ensemble explores the music of the roaring 20's in new and innovative ways.

James Campbell has been Professor of Music at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University since 1988.

January, 2012

James Campbell plays Conn-Selmer clarinets and uses Vandoren and Legere reeds


Press Highlights

Campbell met the quartet on its own high-energy, lushly romantic ground in the Brahms Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B minor, Op. 115. His mellow, penetrating sound meshed elegantly with the strings.
CHICAGO SUN TIMES (with The Colorado String Quartet)

But Campbell earned special praise for his flawless sense of timing, his gorgeous exploration of the soft register and his dramatic yet harmonically lucid performance of the clarinet's Gypsy-like solos in the slow movement.
THE GLOBE & MAIL (Toronto) (with the Penderecki Quartet)

Brahms Clarinet Quintet - Building A Library –

Continuing the series based on Radio 3’s “Building a Library”, Colin Lawson compares the available versions on CD of Brahm’s incomparable chamber-music masterpiece. READ MORE


Masterpieces create magical and memorable symphonic contrast
Calgary Herald

April 2010
It is a rare concert when Mozart gets to play the old man, but this was the case at the CPO’s Classics Series concert Thursday night. The two major works on the program were Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, written two months before the composer’s early death at age 35, and the Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz, composed when he was only 27. Both are staples of the concert repertoire, and with their sharply contrasting styles made for a highly enjoyable evening of symphonic music.

Campbell is no stranger to Calgarians, but his visits are always welcome, for he is a clarinetist of the first order. The Mozart concerto is a party piece for all serious clarinetists, a work requiring purity of tone, flexibility of technique, and a sense of 18th-century elegance. All these things and more are what one has come to expect from Campbell, and on this occasion he delivered in spades.