James Morton

James Morton. Clarinetist, teacher, b Britton, Okla, 26 Jan 1929, naturalized Canadian 1981, d Ottawa 31 Aug 1997; B MUS (Michigan) 1950, M MUS (Michigan) 1952. He began clarinet studies at 12 in a junior high-school band, but did not have formal training until he entered university.

Morton, James

James Morton. Clarinetist, teacher, b Britton, Okla, 26 Jan 1929, naturalized Canadian 1981, d Ottawa 31 Aug 1997; B MUS (Michigan) 1950, M MUS (Michigan) 1952. He began clarinet studies at 12 in a junior high-school band, but did not have formal training until he entered university. His principal teachers were Robert Marcellus, Daniel Bonade, Clark Brody, and Albert Luconi. He worked as a freelance performer in New York 1955-9, then moved to Toronto as principal clarinet and personnel manager with the National Ballet of Canada orchestra 1959-69. During this period he also played with the COC orchestra, Toronto Repertory Ensemble, TS, and CBC studio orchestras. He was principal clarinet 1969-84 with the NACO. Morton taught at Wisconsin State College 1952-5, privately 1960-84, for the NYO 1988-91, and at the University of Ottawa, as professor of wind instruments, from 1984 until his final illness. His students have been appointed to principal positions in several Canadian orchestras. In May-June 1980, Morton taught in Beijing, the People's Republic of China, as the first North American woodwind specialist invited to do so since the Cultural Revolution. Morton was a soloist on the NACO recording of Eckhardt-Gramatté's Triple Concerto (1974, CBC SM-272/5-ACM 21) and on the Toronto Repertory Orchestra's recording of Weinzweig's Divertimento No. 4 (1969, CBC SM-134). He can also be heard as principal clarinet on NACO recordings made 1969-84. Morton had been married to the ballet director and choreographer Celia Franca since 1960.


Further Reading

  • Jacob Siskind, 'Clarinetist anchored NAC orchestra,' Ottawa Citizen, 6 Sep 1997