Cabin Music | James Carson, Solo Piano

Pianist and filmmaker James Carson has spent nearly two decades developing a new form of music.

  • November 5, 2023
    8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

All ticket purchasers on or before November 3 will receive free admission to a special movie screening of Cabin Music at Metro Cinema on Saturday, November 4.

An Edmonton native and childhood prodigy born with perfect pitch, Carson had his first orchestral composition performed by the Edmonton Symphony at age 16, while also performing locally with artists including Brett Miles, Jim Head, Bob Tildesley, the Yardbird Littlebirds student jazz band, and at Yardbird Suite Tuesday Jam Sessions. He studied with Chris Andrews, John Estacio, Allan Gilliland, and Cameron Watson and also arranged a piece for 1000 musicians as part of the Edmonton Public School Board’s millennium celebrations, performed in the Jubilee Auditorium.

Carson then went on to attend the New England Conservatory where he studied with Cecil Taylor, Bob Moses, Joe Maneri, and the poet Robert Creeley. These studies led to a dramatic life change: he abandoned a rapidly-ascending career in order to farm and backpack overland from Spain to Japan, before spending five years designing, building, and practicing in a remote cabin in Northern Alberta. Drawing from his isolated time in the cabin, Carson now creates a wholly new music with each performance, by removing his own intentions and instead receiving and channeling all forces and energies that are present, both within and beyond the performance space.

Praised by Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer Milton Babbitt, who wrote of his “astonished joy” in response to Carson’s “exceptional pianism”, and by his teacher Robert Creeley, who called him a “genial genius”, Carson has been labeled a “meditative piano texturalist” (Time Out New York), on “a quest to create sounds that reflect the magnificence of nature” (Times of India). He creates “trance-inducing… shimmering arpeggiated figures, played with such speed as to invoke Coltrane-esque ‘sheets of sound’” (Feast of Music), transporting audiences “to the stratosphere” (Berkshire Fine Arts).

Carson has since spent the last twelve years producing, directing, filming, and editing Cabin Music, his award-winning feature documentary debut, which initiates audiences into the project’s global origins. The film premiered at DOC NYC and is touring globally on the festival circuit. It has been praised by The American Society of Cinematographers as “a supremely immersive visual experience” and was released as part of “a tour de force of concurrent artistic projects” (Classic Couple Academy) alongside his debut album, The Story of Birds (Bright Shiny Things).

In addition to this special performance, NorthwestFest presents Cabin Music on November 4th at Metro Cinema with James Carson in attendance.

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Venue Phone: (780) 432-0428

Venue Website:

11 Tommy Banks Way, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6E 2M2

Band members

James Carson, Piano

Tickets will also be available at the door if not previously sold out online.
Doors open at 7:00 pm.

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