Bil Jackson

Artist Photo

“I was given a Légère reed by Ricardo Morales December 2015 and I’ve been playing on Légère reeds ever since. I was intrigued by his commitment to Légère’s because I have such a high regard for his artistry and opinions. As such, I committed myself to using Légère reeds exclusively for an extended period. This was to give me ample time for adjustment to and experimentation with Légère reeds without the distractions that cane reeds present. I was immediately impressed! Because of their excellence, consistency and stable tolerance to climatic conditions, I truly believe that what you’ve created is the future of single/double reeds. Légère reeds give me peace of mind!” – Bil Jackson 

Bil Jackson, Associate Professor of clarinet at the Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, enjoys a varied musical career that includes solo, orchestral and chamber music appearances. Before joining the faculty at the Blair School Mr. Jackson served as principal clarinetist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony and has performed as guest principal clarinetist with the St Louis, St. Paul Chamber, Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Cincinnati symphony orchestras. He also has appeared as a soloist with the Colorado, Honolulu, Denver, Charlotte, Dallas Chamber, and Aspen Chamber orchestras.

This summer marks Mr. Jackson’s 34th year on the Artist-Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival.  He has previously served on the faculties of the University of Texas, University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado and Duquesne University.  Mr. Jackson studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he won the IAA’s concerto competition three years in a row and was awarded the gold medal for superlative musicianship upon graduation. He continued his formal study at Northwestern University with Robert Marcellus. Mr. Jackson is the only person to win the International Clarinet Competition twice and he was a finalist in the Prague International Clarinet Competition. Mr. Jackson began his orchestral career with the Honolulu Symphony as principal clarinetist at the age of 20. 

Mr. Jackson currently performs recitals and presents master classes throughout the United States and abroad. Bil will be featured at the 2016 International Clarinet convention in August performing the Weber clarinet quintet and will perform a recital tour to Japan, Korea and China in October.  Mr. Jackson has presented master classes at the Yale, Shepherd School, Northwestern, Manhattan, Eastman, and Colburn schools of music. In March 2015 Jackson premiered a trio composed by Lowell Liebermann at the Tucson Chamber Music Festival.

Mr. Jackson commissioned, and premiered with the Honolulu Symphony, Dan Welcher’s clarinet concerto which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music. He subsequently returned to the Honolulu Symphony to record the concerto for the Naxos label. During the 2008-2009 Colorado Symphony season, Bil premiered Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts’ clarinet concerto with Jeffrey Kahane conducting. Additionally, he performed the Puts concerto via a live NPR national broadcast from the Aspen Music Festival's 2010 season. The Puts concerto was recorded February 2015 with the Colorado Symphony, Andrew Litton conducting.

Mr. Jackson teams with pianist Bill Douglas to present concerts that synthesize jazz, classical, and contemporary formats. Together they record for the Hearts of Space label. Mr. Jackson’s chamber music affiliations have included performances-collaborations with: David Shifrin, Ida Kavafian, Jeffery Kahane, Cho-Liang Lin, Peter Wiley, Emanuel Ax, Jon Kimura Parker, Milan Turkovic, Stephen Hough, Awadagin Pratt, Anne Marie McDermott, Eugenia Zukerman, Steve Prutsman, Pamela Frank, Ransom Wilson, Sharon Isbin, Toby Appel, Bill Douglas, Tokyo String Quartet, Shanghai String Quartet, American String Quartet, Pacifica Quartet and the Miami String Quartet. 

Additionally, Mr. Jackson is a guest artist with the Music from Angel Fire, Camerata Pacifica, Chamber Music Unbound, Bravo! Colorado, Chamber Music Northwest, Arizona friends of Chamber Music, Strings in the Mountains and Sunflower chamber music festivals. Mr. Jackson has also toured with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society and the Australian Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Jackson is sponsored by the Backun and Légère Reeds Ltd. corporations.