James Kalyn

Assistant professor

James Kalyn

Contact Information

(506) 364-2382
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Lauded by colleagues and students as a “world-class doubler”, James Kalyn has built a career over the past twenty-five years as a soloist and orchestral musician of the highest calibre on both saxophone and clarinet. Grand Prize winner of the prestigious Canadian Music Competition’s International Stepping Stone division, and winner of the Fischoff national Chamber Music Competition in the USA, James Kalyn maintains an international career as a performer, conductor, and pedagogue. At Mount Allison Kalyn teaches saxophone, clarinet, and conducting, and conducts the Symphonic Band and Chamber Orchestra. He also supervises the Pep Band.

As a concert saxophonist James Kalyn has performed throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Argentina, China, and Japan. He plays saxophone in the Cleveland Orchestra and has made a number of solo and chamber music recordings. As a clarinetist Kalyn won his first professional orchestra position while still an undergraduate student, and has played in orchestras continuously since that time.

A conductor of both orchestral and wind ensembles, James Kalyn returned to his native Canada in 2011 to take up a post as Professor of Single Reeds and Conducting at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. Previous teaching appointments include the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, the North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Western Ontario, and Wilfrid Laurier University. Kalyn himself holds degrees from the University of Western Ontario, Michigan State University, and the Eastman School of Music.

Since 2005 James Kalyn has worked extensively in China, largely in connection with the Oberlin Conservatory, and studies Mandarin.


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

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

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:

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 From Osaka. Eastman Wind Ensemble. Sony Classical (1990)


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