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Canadian Heritage

Bill McBirnie


BILL McBIRNIE (flutes, piccolo) was born May 23, 1953 in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. Widely recognized as one of the world's best jazz and Latin flutists, McBirnie is known for his remarkable technique playing the entire family of flutes, from bass flute to piccolo. Bill McBirnie has performed, produced, and recorded with a diversified list of eminent artists and internationally-renowned groups. He holds numerous National Jazz Awards and Jazz Report Awards as "Flutist of the Year', and won the American National Flute Association's most recent triennial Jazz Flute Masterclass Competition.

Based in Toronto, Bill McBirnie studied with distinguished Canadian flutist and composer, Robert Aitken, as well as Cuban charanga legend, Richard Egues. He is recognized internationally for his superior skills as a jazz and Latin flute specialist, but he is equally accomplished as an improviser, notably in the bebop, swing, and Latin idioms illustrated in his contributions to recordings with Junior Mance (Here 'Tis - Sackville), Irakere (!Afrocubanismo! - Bembe Records), Memo Acevedo (Building Bridges - Jazz Alliance), and Cache (Blended - EMI).

McBirnie has produced two of his own Extreme Flute projects and, more recently, two straight-ahead acoustic jazz recordings under his own name: Nature Boy featuring The Mark Eisenman Trio and Paco Paco featuring pianist Bernie Senensky. Nature Boy achieved No. 4 ranking in JAZZ.FM91's Top 40 line-up for 2003 and both albums attained Top 40 spots in Bob Parlocha's internationally-syndicated jazz radio program. Both also garnered consistently excellent reviews throughout Canada, the U.S., Britain, Spain, Holland, and France. Bill’s current release entitled “Mercy” (2009) features the talents of Robi Botos, Pat Collins and John Sumner.

Bill McBirnie has been a long-time contributor to the "Woodwinds" Column of "Canadian Musician" Magazine, and he is the resident Jazz Flute Specialist at Sir James Galway's website.

In 2013, McBirnie released "Find Your Place," which features Bernie Senensky on organ amnd Anthony Michelli on drums.

Bill McBirnie is a past Jazz Report Awards winner as ‘Flutist of the Year’, a past nominee as ‘Miscellaneous Instrumentalist of the Year’ at the National Jazz Awards, and was declared a winner of the U.S.A. National Flute Association’s Triennial Jazz Flute Master Class Competition.
2007 – National Jazz Awards nominee as ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’
2007 – National Jazz Awards nominee for ‘Album of the Year’ (Paco Paco)


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Bill McBirnie