top of page

James Kanter

Artist profile

Principal clarinetist of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, recording artist and internationally acclaimed mouthpiece maker


B♭/A clarinet Zenit


“My Uebel Zenit clarinet is the best feeling, sounding and responding clarinet I've ever played. The intonation is exemplary and the timbre speaks with it's own voice but allows limitless flexibility/color. Add to that it holds the sound better than any clarinet I've owned. I look forward each day to the moment I can take it out of the case and enjoy music making with this fine instrument.”


In over forty years as a clarinetist in Los Angeles James Kanter divided his time working in the Motion Picture and TV recording studios and in the concert field. He can be heard in nearly 1,500 Motion Picture scores and hundreds of TV shows and was, for twenty-three seasons principal clarinetist with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, was a founding member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, also as principal clarinetist. His orchestral activities also included principal clarinetist positions with the Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, Opera Pacific, American Ballet Theatre and several Broadway productions. In addition Kanter was a founding artist with the Pacific Symphony Chamber Players and remained active as a chamber musician and soloist throughout his career. Among the many composers with whom he worked as principal clarinetist include John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Jerry Goldsmith, John Debney, James Newton Howard, Randy Newman, James Horner, Mike Post, Alan Silvestri and Rachel Portman. His playing is prominently featured on many films including "Seabiscuit", "Benny and Joon", As Good as it Gets" and "Nine Months". Kanter served as clarinet instructor on the music department faculties of the University of California, both Santa Barbara and Irvine campuses and the California State University, Northridge campus. Retired since 2007 he continues to handcraft James Kanter clarinet mouthpieces on a limited basis which are in use by many prominent soloists, educators and orchestra players worldwide. He also travels with his wife, clarinetist Debra.

bottom of page