James Scott joined the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra as Principal Trombone in 1981. That same year, he joined the Faculty of Music at the University of Calgary. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montreal, and the National Ballet Orchestra. Jim has appeared as a soloist on several occasions with the CPO, and has also been a guest soloist with musical organizations around Calgary, and throughout North America. He also enjoys performing commercial music, and has been involved in musicals at the Grand and Theatre Calgary, and is a member of Prime Time Big Band.
James is a graduate of the Juilliard School (B. Mus., M. Mus.) where he was a scholarship student of Edward Herman, Jr. Additional studies have been pursued with Frank Crisafulli, Arnold Jacobs and Joseph Alessi.
Who do you think are or were the masters of your instrument?
Joseph Alessi, the Principal in the New York Philharmonic is currently raising the bar for all of the rest of us. Several of his students are also joining him at the top, holding positions with major orchestras worldwide. You can’t forget the playing of Christian Lindberg, and Canadian trombonist Alain Trudel either. In the jazz field, J.J Johnson, Urbie Green, and Bill Watrous are a few players who each changed the landscape. There is a lot of new talent out there making an impression on the trombone community – too many to name here.
Tell us a little about your instrument.
I play instruments that are all manufactured by the Edwards Instrument Company, in Elkhorn, WI., and am an artist for that company, representing their products. I use a large symphonic tenor trombone for most of the work in the orchestra, and an alto trombone for the lighter and higher works of composers like Beethoven and Mozart. In jazz playing, I use a smaller bore tenor trombone, similar to what you might see in most school band applications.
Do you play in any groups/ensembles outside of the orchestra?
I play with Prime Time Big Band, and have played in a few musical theatre pit orchestras. I enjoy playing some occasional chamber music, and the trombone section enjoys performing trombone quartets with one of our colleagues from outside the orchestra.
What kinds of music do you listen to when you’re “off-duty?” What’s currently on your iPod?
I listen to a great variety of music, but I find that between the listening that I do for preparation for concerts, and for studying the best performers on the trombone, I don’t want to listen to other music that often. I get to hear great music every day, performed live by great colleagues – I often keep the stereo off both at home and in the car.
How do you prepare for a concert? Any “pre-game” rituals?
None really. I just try to avoid too heavy a meal right before playing, and try to leave early enough to beat the traffic and play a bit before going out on stage.
How old were you when you started playing?
I came from a musical family, and was started on the cornet (like a trumpet) when I was seven. I switched to the trombone at 10, but didn’t get too serious about it until just before high school.