Music Bio

Black and white photo of Cameron Tingley at a young age.

When Cameron was eight years old his mother forced him at gunpoint to take up a musical instrument. He chose the clarinet because he liked the multiple personalities and extensive range of the horn. While most of his friends aspired to become guitar heroes, Cameron — never one to follow the herd — steadfastly pursued the path of the clarinet hero.

In high-school he became a full-fledged “reed man” branching out into alto sax, baritone sax, and flute.

In 1971 he was introduced by friends to two pieces of instrumental music — The Little House I Used To Live In by Frank Zappa, and Expansions by Rahsaan Roland Kirk — both of which are extended, polythematic extravaganzas. This was a watershed moment. It inspired Cameron to immediately start composing his own extravaganzas and putting together his own ensembles to perform them, including Smorgasbord (London, Ont.) and Integrated Circus (Toronto).

His musical compositions — or “contraptions” as he calls them — have also been performed by The Caliban Quartet of Bassoonists (Toronto), Genkin Philharmonic (Buffalo, NY), The UB Pan-Am Ensemble (Buffalo, NY), and The Seventh Chapter of Fine Brass (Brisbane, Australia).

Besides Zappa and Kirk, other musical influences include Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, Danny Elfman, Raymond Scott, Vic Mizzy, and The Dave Clark Five. Even George Gershwin pops up occasionally to hang with this motley bunch.