Justin Duhaime

#CouncilSpotlight – Justin Duhaime

Jennifer Clark


The Ottawa Arts Council supports artists and arts organizations through leadership, guidance and the provision of opportunities to advance our local creative potential.

Our series #CouncilSpotlight presents stories and experiences of Arts Council members and art award recipients.

Justin received the RBC Emerging Artist Award in 2018.

Where are you from?   

I was born at the Riverside Hospital and spent most of my childhood in Orléans. I am currently based in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood.

How did you get involved in the Ottawa arts community?

I bought my first guitar when I was 12. I started practicing and composing obsessively when I was 14, sometimes 16 hours in a single day. I took my first formal lessons when I was 17 or 18 and shortly after pursued music studies at Carleton University. I sought out every performing and learning opportunity I could find, regardless of the style of music. 

I performed at various festivals, venues, bars and private events in the region. I began teaching guitar in 2005, self-published an instructional guitar book in 2015 and I now have a very busy teaching practice. Those interested in taking lessons can find out more here. Lately, I’ve made a name for myself playing jazz manouche but I’m happy to play almost anything. I've played jazz, latin music, free improv, pop, rock, indie, Indian classical music, metal, ska, punk, reggae, theme music, tango, blues, etc. 

How would you describe your artistic practice/discipline?

I would describe it is as a passionate dedication to music.

What impact has your involvement with the arts/the Ottawa arts community had on your life?

Music is my life and Ottawa has an environment that has allowed me to pursue it professionally. I am extremely grateful for that as I have a hard time imagining myself doing anything else. It's also the place where I've met my mentors, made many friends and heard some incredible and unforgettable concerts that changed my life.

Is there a specific moment/situation in your art career that you remember fondly?

Many. Meeting Tcha Limberger, performing to a full house at Chamberpints with a very attentive and supportive audience with William Lamoureux & Nabil Yaghi. Performing at JazzNHouse in Pakenham. Performing at JazzNHouse in Pakenham . Performing a sold out show at Irene's Pub with my clarinet quartet.

Do you have any advice for artists in the Ottawa community or artists in general?

Work hard. Be professional. Treat every gig like an audition for the next one. Never stop learning. 

What are you currently working on?

There are always tons of things on the go. People can learn about my upcoming performances here. http://justinduhaime.com/shows/ I'm always learning new vocabulary, new repertoire, maintaining or improving technique, finding gigs, rehearsing bands, honing teaching materials,composing, arranging, promoting, doing administrative work, learning more about audio recording and video editing, etc. I'm hoping I'll be able to release some tracks sooner rather than later. I also want to add more performance, lesson, backing track videos to my YouTube channel.

What was it like to receive an award from the Ottawa Arts Council? How do you think it will impact your career? 

I was stunned.  It's a thrilling experience. I’m hoping that the award will help give me some recognition that will lead to more opportunities as a performer, composer, accompanist and teacher.

Upcoming Concert

Justin Duhaime Quartet ft. clarinetist David Renaud

Sunday, Octobre 28, 2018
7:00PM to 10:00PM

Le Petit Chicago
50, promenade Du Portage, Gatineau, Quebec J8X 2J7

Inspired by the legacy of legendary manouche guitarist Django Reinhardt, the music is driven by swinging and grooving rhythm guitar which functions as a vehicle for improvisation. The group combines an eclectic mix of high energy swing, latin grooves, virtuosic fast tempo tunes and luscious ballads. Find them at the confluence of the old and the new.

Justin Duhaime - guitar
Nabil Yaghi - guitar
David Renaud - clarinet
Mark Fraser - bass

10$ at the door.

Justin Duhaime is a passionate guitarist, composer and teacher based in Ottawa. He has performed at ChamberFest, JazzFest, FolkFest, TulipFest and sold out concerts at venues such as Irene’s Pub and Pressed. Duhaime is the recipient of the Ottawa Arts Council’s 2018 RBC Emerging Artist Award, the first musician to ever receive the award. As a freelance guitarist Duhaime has performed in a wide array of musical styles. Most recently, he has emerged as a leading figure in the jazz manouche scene in Ottawa. Duhaime has a self-published guitar book and is sponsored by DK Guitars.

Dave Renaud has been immersed in a diverse and rich musical life performing swing, jazz, theatre, orchestral, and studio for 35 years. He has written music for solo, choral, duos, small ensemble, and big band. Dave performs for National Arts Centre Pops concerts, and covers a multitude of doubles for theatre pit orchestras. Dave is the clarinet professor for Carleton University's music department.