The clarinet-piano duo Sea and Sky (François Houle & Jane Hayes) have been collaborating for over 10 years to bring fascinating and unusual programs to new audiences across Canada. Having performed together as members of Turning Point Ensemble and Vancouver New Music Ensemble, these two outstanding musicians felt the urge to explore the clarinet and piano repertoire to uncover rarely heard gems, regardless of era, genre, and style. The duo has presented concerts throughout BC, as well as featured performances at BC Scene (National Arts Centre), Capacoa Conference and BC Touring Showcases. An important Canada Council commission for a new work for clarinet, piano and electroacoustic by Montreal-based composer Paul Dolden led to François and Jane calling on composer friends to write works for the duo. This culminated in the recording and release of their “Sassicaia” CD last March in Pyatt Hall. At the same time, the duo recorded “Zarabandeo” featuring works bound together by the Latin hallmarks of infectious rhythm and exquisite melody. The accolades have already rolled in for these recordings with reviews citing “the excellence of the musicianship”, their “interpretive prowess” and “Sea and Sky’s willingness to experiment”. “Sassicaia” was recently nominated for a West Coast Music Award for best new classical recording of 2014-15.
In 2015 violinist Joan Blackman, former Associate Concert Master of the VSO and Artistic Director of the Vetta Chamber Series joined Jane and François. Together they have been performing throughout the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, expanding the repertoire of Sea and Sky and providing an even greater range of repertoire possibilities. Their have recently released their first CD, entitled “Dream Tracks”, featuring works by Khachaturian, Paul Schoenfeld, Charles Ives, Peter Sculthorpe and Patrick Cardy. The trio also received a Canada Council grant to commission composer Michael Oesterle to write a new work, “Jo’s Condo”, for the group which receive its premiere on March 3, 3018.