Gene Ramsbottom joined the CBC Radio Orchestra clarinet section in 1974 and was its principal clarinetist from 1984 until November 2008 when the 70 year old radio orchestra was disbanded by the CBC. Maestro Richard Bonynge appointed him as the founding principal clarinetist of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra from 1975-1996. He has performed as a chamber musician and soloist in Canada, England, France, Germany, Israel, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States and Ireland.
A life-long producer, cosponsor and organizer of classical music events, some of his many concert presentations include the Whistler International Mozart Festival (1989 & 1990) and the OUT FOR LUNCH Friday noon-hour concert series now in its thirtieth season at the Vancouver Art Gallery (the 800th concert will be on Oct 24, 2014 and the series was voted # 1 in PLACES THAT MATTER, a Vancouver Heritage Foundation survey in 2011). Since the early 1980s he has taught clarinet and chamber music for the Schools of Music at the University of British Columbia, Douglas College and Capilano University. With over forty-five years of teaching experience he is the senior-most clarinet teacher in British Columbia’s history and is a frequent adjudicator and clinician at provincial music festivals. Over 55 commercial recordings and innumerable radio broadcasts are to his credit and renown as one of Canada’s most recorded classical orchestral clarinetists.
His principal clarinet teachers have been Carl Kellett (Vancouver), Ronald deKant (Vancouver Symphony), Peter Hadcock, (Boston Symphony), Robert Marcellus (Cleveland Orchestra), Marcel Moyse (Brattleboro, Vermont) and Marc Lifschey (San Fransisco Symphony) and served as an apprentice arts manager under a Canada Council initiative mentored by George Zukerman (Vancouver, B.C.). Advanced clarinet studies in the U.S.A. were possible with financial competitive scholarship awards from the Canada Council and the B.C. Cultural Services Fund.
In May, 2005 Mr. Ramsbottom performed the Shanghai premiere of Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” with Canadian cellist Bo Peng at an International Concert for World Peace commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. In December 2006 he was featured as a chamber musician and guest faculty soloist in the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s tour to Hong Kong and Taiwan. In May 2007 he is the dedicatee and performed Stephen Chatman’s “Prairie Dawn” Clarinet Concerto in Taipei with the Taipei National University of the Arts Orchestra and was a guest professor at TNUA. He was the featured Canadian artist at the Wright State University’s Clarinet Symposium in Dayton, Ohio in January, 2009 and was a featured artist at Troy State University’s Clarinet Day conference in Alabama in March 2010. He commissioned and premiered Alain Mayrand’s “Battling Boggarts” with American clarinetist Dr. Tim Phillips and the Troy University Symphonic Winds at the 2011 Whistler Con Brio Music Festival. He toured as the guest soloist with the West Vancouver Youth Band in their Germany tour in 2007 and their July 2011 tour of France, Belgium and Holland. He has been the principal clarinetist, teacher and international soloist with SUMMER MUSIC IN GALWAY/SUMMER MUSIC ON THE SHANNON Festival since 2009 in Ireland and is currently the principal clarinetist and sectional conductor with Vancouver’s Westcoast Symphony Orchestra as well as assistant conductor and clarinet sectional coach with the West Vancouver Youth Band.
Richard Epp is a well-known Vancouver based pianist, accompanist, vocal coach, conductor and chamber musician. Mr. Epp is currently Music Director of the Opera Workshop at UBC for whom he has conducted Hansel and Gretel, The Merry Widow, The Magic Flute, La Finta Giardinera, Weisse Rose by Udo Zimmerman, Serse, Die Fledermaus, and The Gondoliers among many others. He is also currently the official pianist for the division auditions of the Metropolitan Opera Competition in Vancouver.
He was pianist for the Resident Artists Program of the Vancouver Opera for five years. He has also been on the faculty of the Vancouver Academy of Music and was the Conductor of the White Rock Community Orchestra for nine years. Mr. Epp has toured Canada, the United States and Europe as a piano accompanist for singers, as a conductor, and as a chamber musician. He has appeared frequently in CBC recitals. Mr. Epp has studied conducting with Tsung Yeh, Kirk Trevor, and Johannes Schlaefle, and holds a Master’s Degree in Piano Accompanying from the University of Southern California. He has also participated in master classes given by such internationally known musicians as Dalton Baldwin, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Siegfried Jerusalem, Nico Castel, Rudolph Jansen and Elly Ameling. Mr. Epp has premiered numerous works by Canadian composers, and is also active as a piano teacher and adjudicator.