Bill Kirkley is in demand as an orchestral musician, recitalist, and chamber performer, and his playing has been labeled “emotional, committed, and intensely exciting” by the Boston Globe. The Boston Musical Intelligencer called him “a musician in total command of his instrument”.
Bill’s orchestral playing has been heard in some of the world’s great concert halls, including Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Symphony Hall Boston, Orchestra Hall Chicago, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London.
He is principal clarinetist and one of the founders of the Lexington Symphony, principal clarinetist of Cape Ann Symphony, solo bass clarinetist with Orchestra of Indian Hill and the Albany Symphony. As a guest clarinetist, he can often be heard performing with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, and City Ballet in NYC.
Bill is sought out as a concerto soloist and has been featured with the North Arkansas Symphony, Mesquite Symphony, North Shore Philharmonic, Gordon Symphony, Cape Ann Symphony, and the Lexington Symphony.
An avid proponent of new music, Bill is the clarinetist for Triage New Music and Boston Musica Viva, the oldest contemporary music ensemble in the United States. He has worked with many of the leading composers of our era to realize their music, including Joan Tower, Martin Bresnik, Michael Gandolfi, Gunther Schuller, Donald Martino, Yehudi Wyner, and John Harbison. Bill’s recording of Camarata IV, a concerto for all the clarinets, was written for him by the esteemed New York composer Bernard Hoffer and was released in summer 2020 to rave reviews.
Bill has recorded extensively on such labels as CRI, SEAMUS, New World, Albany, Naxos, and Centaur. His playing has been heard on WGBH Boston and the BBC from London. If you play SimCity BuildIt! you’ve heard his playing behind the game.
A performer dedicated to educating, Bill has served on the music faculties of University of Southwestern Louisiana, Brandeis University, UMass Boston, and is currently on the music faculties of Gordon College, Berklee College of Music, the College of the Holy Cross, and Indian Hill Music.
He is in demand as a teacher. clinician, and adjudicator. Maintaining a busy teaching studio of beginners through adults, he has also taught masterclasses for district, region and all state competitions.
As a long time member of the International Clarinet Association, he has presented at ClarinetFest, the summer festival of the ICA.
Bill attended the University of Arkansas, Northwestern University and Southern Methodist University, where his major teachers were Robert Marcellus, Anthony Gigliotti, and Robert Umiker.
Bill is an avid lover of the outdoors, and lives in New Hampshire with his adorable Scottie Dogs.