Jim Vivian has been at the forefront of music making in Canada for over 35 years, and has performed and/or recorded with many well known jazz artists working in the country past and present. Originally from Newfoundland, he moved from St. John’s to Toronto in 1979 to pursue classical bass studies with Thomas Monohan (then principal bass of the Toronto Symphony) and Thorvald Fredin (then principal bass of the Royal Stockholm Opera). During the early 1980’s he began to focus more on jazz and improvised music, studying with Dave Holland at the Banff centre, and later in New York City with Holland and Marc Johnson.

Jim has long-standing associations with many musicians in Toronto and across the country such as Mike Murley, Jeff Johnston, Don Thompson, Brian Dickinson, and John MacLeod, to name a few. He appears on over 130 recordings, over 30 of which have been nominated for Juno awards in as many years (5 winners). He has also performed and recorded with many internationally esteemed artists such as John Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi, Mick Goodrick, David Leibman, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, and Norma Winstone.

Jim holds a Masters Degree in Music from York University, and was on faculty at the University of Toronto Jazz Program from 2001 to 2021, as well as at York University from 2005 to 2021.
He is very happy to be back in St. John’s after over 40 years on the mainland.

Fun Facts About Jim

When did you join the NSO?

That’s a complicated question. I actually joined the orchestra in June 1976 when it was still the St. John’s Symphony, and played until the end of the 1977-78 season. Then I returned as principal bass for most of the 1982-83 season before moving back to Toronto to persue a career as a jazz bassist. Then returned to the orchestra in the spring of 2022 upon moving back to St. John’s.

Who inspired you to learn how to play?

My two older siblings, and a lot of records.

What’s your favourite piece of classical/orchestral music?

Which ever one I’m playing at any given time.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

Wayne Shorter.

What other non-musical creative outlets do you have?

I love food, wine and coffee.