Phil Nimmons

Phillip Rista "Phil" Nimmons, OC OOnt (born June 3, 1923) is a Canadian jazz clarinetist, composer, bandleader, and educator.

Phil Nimmons
Birth namePhilip Rista Nimmons
Born (1923-06-03) June 3, 1923
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
GenresJazz, classical
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger, educator
Years active1948–present


The son of George Rista and Hilda Louise (McCrum), he was born in Kamloops, British Columbia. He attended Lord Byng Secondary School, graduating in 1940. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1944. During his time in Vancouver, he played in the Ray Norris Quintet. From 1945 to 1947, he was a scholar at the Juilliard School in New York City. From 1948 to 1950, he attended the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

He joined the University of Toronto in 1973[1] as instructor in jazz techniques and is now Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies. Among his notable pupils are composers Jerry Toth and Rick Wilkins.

Awards and honors

In 1976, he received the first Juno Award given in the jazz category for his album Atlantic Suite, performed by his band, Nimmons 'n' Nine Plus Six. His composition "The Torch" was commissioned for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. It was performed at the Olympics by a big band led by Rob McConnell.[1]

In 1993, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also a recipient of the Order of Ontario. In 2002, Nimmons received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts, for his lifetime contribution to popular music.[2]

On November 21, 2005, Nimmons was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by SOCAN at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto.[3]


  • The Canadian Scene Via the Phil Nimmons Group (Verve, 1956)
  • Nimmons 'n' Nine (Verve, 1963)
  • Take Ten (RCA, 1963)
  • Mary Poppins Swings (RCA, 1964)
  • Strictly Nimmons (RCA, 1965)
  • Nimmons Now (RCA, 1970)
  • The Atlantic Suite (Sackville, 1975)
  • Sands of Time (Sackville, 2000)
  • Beginnings (Nimmons 'n' Music, 2009)
  • Canadian Composer Portrait: Phil Nimmons (CMC, 2009)


  1. Cross, Dan. "Phil Nimmons". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  2. "Phil Nimmons biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
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