James Young Bio

I started playing the string bass in grade 5 in Edmonton Alberta. I would have been 6 or 7. I thought that since my dad had a bass at home, I would be better off since I didn’t have to carry one to school…

That bass was my go to bass until I left Toronto in the 1980’s.

My parents sent me to private bass lessons. These lessons were classical in nature, allowing me to become proficient in arco, or bowing. I was taught French style, but I am also proficient with the German grip. Here is an explanation of the difference. 

I played with the Edmonton Youth Orchestra and was part of their Switzerland trip. We traveled to Lausanne Switzerland in 1972 to partake in a World Youth Orchestra Festival. I was one of 13 or 14 bassists!! We played as a section, with me holding up the back end.

The Orchestra performed Pierre Mecure’s piece Kaleidoscope. A great Canadian composer from Quebec. Our Conductor, Ted Kardash, wanted to perform another piece but it was a bit too controversial. It was called Threnody, by R. Murray Schafer dedicated the children who were the victims of the Hiroshima bombing in WW 2. This was an amazing work, but a bit too controversial for the festival.

There was a “super” combined orchestra made up of all members of the attending orchestras. It was Symphony Fantasique by H. Berliotz.  

My friend and I …PG… worked up the piece for the open audition… then we realized that a trip to Zermatt and the Matterhorn Mountain was much more interesting. So we went to the Matterhorn, traveling on my first Cog railway!!  

A perfect day to see the beautiful valleys and peaks of the Zermatt valley.

Traveling to the summit of the mountain opposite to the Matterhorn, by cable car then chairlift, we watched skiers enjoying their sport in July.

The festival performed Symphony Fantasique without us, but was a great experience with Carrion bells and 20 bassoons…

Next was a bus tour to Munich through the Swiss Alps…where we played outdoors in a roman amphitheater. 

Traveling to Munich, we stopped to perform, 2 weeks before the Olympic games. Then a performance in Vienna outdoors in the courtyard of a Vienna Government building.

Upon returning to Edmonton, I started to explore jazz music as well as classical. I was fortunate to have some really good players here