Principal Clarinet

Kimball Sykes

Last updated: May 29, 2024

Kimball Sykes joined the National Arts Centre Orchestra as principal clarinet in 1985.

Born in Vancouver, he received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia where he studied with Ronald deKant. In 1982 Kimball was a member of the National Youth Orchestra and was awarded the first of two Canada Council grants to study with Robert Marcellus in Chicago. He has participated in the Banff School of Fine Arts Festival, the Scotia Festival, the Orford Festival, and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.

He has performed and toured with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. While in Vancouver, he was a founding member of the Vancouver Wind Trio. From 1983 to 1985 he was principal clarinet of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.

Kimball Sykes has performed as a soloist with the NAC Orchestra on numerous occasions. In May 2000, he gave the premiere performance of Vagues immobiles, a clarinet concerto by Alain Perron commissioned for him by the NAC, and in November 2002, he performed the Coplandʼs Clarinet Concerto, both conducted by Pinchas Zukerman. Other groups he has appeared with as soloist include Thirteen Strings, the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, and the Auckland Philharmonia.

Kimball Sykes has performed numerous solo and chamber music programs for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He can be heard on the recent Chamber Players of Canada recording of Schubert’s Octet. He has also recorded the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with Pinchas Zukerman and NAC Orchestra principal musicians Donnie Deacon, Jane Logan, and Amanda Forsyth, which is included in the NAC Orchestra’s double Mozart CD for CBC Records and was nominated for a Juno Award in 2004.

Kimball Sykes is currently on faculty at the University of Ottawa.

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