Since 2014, the Grdina/Houle/Loewen Trio has forged a new stream of complex compositions that meld together density, ferocious energy and technical virtuosity. The group’s versatility and wide dynamic range has become finely honed, creating an ensemble that can change course dramatically. The threesome navigates a wider landscape of sound with meandering lyrical passages, encircling eerie plateaus and sudden about-turns into wild abysses triggering raucous rides.
Clarinetist François Houle has established himself as one of today’s most inventive musicians, in all of the diverse musical spheres he embraces. Inspired by collaborations with the world’s top musical innovators, François has developed a unique improvisational language, virtuosic and rich with sonic embellishment and technical extensions. He has worked with Dave Douglas, Mark Dresser, Joëlle Léandre, Benoît Delbecq, Evan Parker, Samuel Blaser, Gerry Hemingway, Marilyn Crispell, Myra Melford, René Lussier, Alexander Hawkins, John Butcher, Kris Davis, Georg Graewe, Håvard Wiik, Guillermo Gregorio, Eyvind Kang, Hasse Poulsen, and many of Canada and the International scene’s top creative music artists.
His extensive touring has led to solo appearances at major festivals across Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. A prolific recording artist, he has released over twenty recordings as a leader, earning multiple Juno Award and West Coast Music Award nominations. He is the founder of Afterday Audio, a record label dedicated to the documentation and dissemination of his many musical projects and collaborations. In addition, he has appeared on numerous recordings on the Songlines, Red Toucan, Leo Records, Drip Audio, PSI, Between-the-Lines, Nuscope, Spool, hat[now]ART, Redshift, CRI, among others. He has been listed on numerous occasions in Downbeat magazine’s Readers and Critics’ Polls as “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” and “Rising Star”.
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, and a former graduate clarinet studio instructor at the University of British Columbia. He served as Artistic Director of the Vancouver Creative Music Institute for five years. In 2008 he was appointed as “Associate Composer” of the Canadian Music Centre.
‘a spectacularly versatile clarinetist who appears to have no limitations stylistically or sonically’
— Mark Swed, LA Times