James Kalyn

Associate Professor — Clarinet, Saxophone, Conducting, Symphonic Band, Chamber Orchestra
MC 108


James Kalyn is a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician on both clarinet and saxophone. An Associate Professor at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, Kalyn can be heard performing regularly in the region as clarinetist with the highly successful woodwind quintet Ventus Machina, on saxophone with the Brogue Quartet, and in recitals. In recent years he has become very active as an arranger of music, bringing a lifetime of experience to the craft. Samples of his playing and arranging are found on his website, www.jameskalyn.ca. James Kalyn is also a conductor of band, orchestra, and jazz ensemble. His love of the mechanical has also led him to train as an instrument repairman. 

Kalyn has been a clarinetist with numerous professional orchestras. As a concert saxophonist he has performed throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Argentina, China and Japan. He has played and toured extensively with The Cleveland Orchestra and is heard on solo, ensemble and chamber music recordings. His solo recordings include 6 Standard Saxophone Sonatas, Brillance and Glazunov Concerto. Chamber music recordings include Ventus Machina’s In the Weeds (2017) and Roots (2021). Kalyn trained at the Eastman School of Music (Doctor of Musical Arts), Michigan State University (BMus in woodwind performance) and Western University (BMus performance).


1992  Doctor of Musical Arts (Performance and Literature: Saxophone)

Eastman School of Music, Rochester NY

  • Graduate assistant 1990-1992
  • Scholarship recipient 1989-1992
  • Performer’s Certificate 1990
  • Winner Concerto Competition 1991
  • Toured and recorded in Japan with Eastman Wind Ensemble 1990, 1992
  • Minor area of study in theory
  • Conducting study with Donald Hunsberger

1989  Master of Music (Woodwind Specialist)

Michigan State University, East Lansing MI

  • Member of saxophone quartet (Winners Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, toured and recorded in Japan)
  • Studied with major teachers on clarinet, saxophone, flute, oboe, bassoon
  • Scholarship recipient 1987-1989

1986  Bachelor of Music (Honors Performance: Saxophone)

University of Western Ontario, London Ont.

  • Scholarship recipient 1983-1986
  • Gold Medal Winner for academic achievement
  • Class valedictorian


1992-1993  Donald Hunsberger (conducting); Eastman School of Music

1989-1992  Ramon Ricker (saxophone); Eastman School of Music

1987-1989  James Forger (saxophone); Michigan State University

1987-1989  Frank Ell (clarinet); Michigan State University

1988  Elsa Ludwig-Verdehr (clarinet); Michigan State University

Summer 1989  Wes Foster (clarinet); Banff Centre

1987-1989  Israel Borouchoff (flute); Michigan State University

1988-89  Daniel Stolper (oboe); Michigan State University

1987-1988  Will Peebles (bassoon); Michigan State University

1982-1986  George VanOstrand (saxophone); University of Western Ontario

1984-1987  Robert Sheffield (clarinet); University of Western Ontario

1984-1986  Robert Riseling (clarinet); University of Western Ontario


Clarinet and saxophone study at Mount Allison

I aim to have the clarinet and saxophone studio at Mount A be a welcoming family of students that support and challenge each other to be the best musicians they can be. Each student meets with me individually for lessons twice a week, where we cover detailed aspects of playing the instrument, how to understand and interpret the music, how to listen, and the all-important skill of learning how to practice well. We also all get together once a week to perform for each other and discuss topics of general interest. The environment is friendly and fun, but standards are high. Lessons and practice are the most direct way for us to learn about music. When we play we are expressing the sum of our musical knowledge in sound. If it was easy, everyone could do it. Through careful practice we learn to hear ever more deeply into the sounds we make, revealing a language of which we were hitherto unaware. The ability to speak this language of music is a lifetime undertaking, but it supplies a lifetime of rewards as well.

Comments from students:

“He is incredibly encouraging, very organized, and very funny – he is an amazing musician and a great role model, and I had a fantastic connection with him. He gets right to the music and makes it fun, but always gets great results.”

--Keith Nelson, NYC; former student and Lincoln Center Intern

"Dr. Kalyn quickly understands how his students learn, and adapts his teaching method accordingly. He is almost always in his office, ready for questions, conversations, and extra lessons. It's nice to have an applied music professor who is almost always available, whenever you need anything."

--Philippe Chevarie, saxophone, Mount Allison U.

“Orchestra was high energy rehearsal but fun. We saw real growth in the ensemble from his really specific conducting and instructions for all of us. He had real respect for the ensemble and the ensemble had good respect for him.”

--Abigail Freeman, clarinet, Ohio.

“He’s great – very structured in lessons and he’s very helpful with a lot of things. You go into a lesson and he always takes notes for you and has helped with a practice routine. You always come away with exactly what you need to work on. I call him during the week for extra help and he’s always available, to talk and go out of his way to help.”

--Tim Bennett, saxophone, Oberlin Conservatory


Solo recordings:

Six Standard Saxophone Sonatas
Sonatas by Heiden, Creston, Hindemith, Lunde, Muczynski, Denisov. 
James Kalyn, saxophone; James Howsmon, Stephen Runge, piano
CD KW0300 (2014)

Sonata for alto saxophone and organ, by Denis Bédard
James Kalyn, saxophone; Gail h. Martin, organ (YouTube, 2013)

Glazunov Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra
James Kalyn, Oberlin Studio Orchestra
CD KW002 (2012)

Clear Skies, saxophone and chamber ensemble, by Joshua Levine
James Kalyn, saxophone; Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble, Timothy Weiss, director (2011)

Brilliance: Virtuoso French Music for Saxophone and Piano
James Kalyn; saxophone, David Winkelman; piano. CD KW0100 (2001)

Chamber music recordings:

Ventus Machina (features 9 arrangements by James Kalyn)
Leaf Music, LM239 (2021)

In the Weeds
Ventus Machina
MSR Classics, MS1633 (2016)

Moravian Wind Sextets
Moravian Music Foundation (2000)

Quatour pour Saxophones
Michigan State University Saxophone Quartet
Japan: Sunrise Studios, CD 153 (1988)

Orchestral recordings:

Live in China
Oberlin Orchestra (2006)

Franck: Symphony in D minor
Greensboro Symphony (2000)

Live in Osaka
Eastman Wind Ensemble
Sony Classical, SK47198 (1990)