Bil Jackson has been acclaimed as one of the premier clarinetists of our time. Hailed for his “beautifully inspired artistry” (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times), praised for his “brilliant technique coupled with exquisite phrasing” (Jeff Bradley, Denver Post), he has long been featured as a soloist with numerous orchestras and chamber music festivals throughout the country.
Jackson began his career with the Honolulu Symphony as principal clarinetist at age 19 and was the only person to win the International Clarinet Competition twice. Today, in addition to a varied performance schedule, he is Associate Professor of Clarinet at the Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University.
Before joining the faculty at Blair, Jackson served as principal clarinetist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the Honolulu Symphony. He has performed as guest principal clarinetist with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He has served on the Artist-Faculty of the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, is Artist-Faculty Emeritus of the Aspen Music Festival, and has taught at the University of Texas, the University of Colorado, the University of Northern Colorado and Duquesne University.
A sought-after chamber music performer, Bil Jackson has been a guest artist with the chamber music festivals of Music from Angel Fire, Camerata Pacifica, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, Chamber Music Unbound, Bravo! Colorado, Sunflower, Chamber Music Northwest, Festival St. Bart’s, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Chamber Music Sedona, Strings in the Mountains Festival and the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. He has collaborated with musicians such as David Shifrin, Ida Kavafian, Joshua Bell, Stephen Hough, Paquito D’Rivera, Awadagin Pratt, Anne Marie McDermott, Steve Prutsman, Pamela Frank, Ransom Wilson, Sharon Isbin, Robert McDuffie, Toby Appel, Bill Douglas, the Tokyo String Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, American String Quartet, Pacifica Quartet, Miro Quartet and the Miami String Quartet.
Jackson commissioned and premiered Dan Welcher’s Clarinet Concerto, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and recorded the concerto for the Naxos label with the Honolulu Symphony.
During the 2008-2009 Colorado Symphony season, under the baton of Jeffrey Kahane, he premiered Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts’s clarinet concerto, which was written for him. In 2010 he performed the Puts concerto via a live NPR national broadcast from the Aspen Music Festival and recorded it in 2015 with the Colorado Symphony, Andrew Litton conducting. The recording will be released in Fall, 2019. Jackson also works in the movie recording industry with the Nashville Music Scoring company. He is sponsored by the Backun clarinet, Behn mouthpiece and Legere reed corporations.
Bil lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area with his wife Callie, has three wonderful children and a British Cream retriever, Valor.