Kevin James

Portraits – “Mother Teresa,” “Midnight Avenue A” (1997)

Mr. James’ selection for the Meet The Composer/New Residencies Program in 1999 placed him in residence variously with The Kitchen, Quintet of the Americas, and Sirius String Quartet. It included the commission of The Portraits Project, a 90-minute multimedia “opera-lingua”, for which Mr. James recorded over 700 interviews with homeless New Yorkers.

A One Night Stand in the Ballroom of the Hotel Insomnia (2001)

for woodwind quintet and dramatic reader 

Rockaway Beach Winter 2017

Kevin James, a composer with a history of community involvement and works using utilizing his own field recordings from interviews with the homeless, to the sounds of howler monkeys, to the voice of the last remaining speaker of an aboriginal language, completed “Rockaway Beach Winter 2017”. Mr. James created sound recordings from the Rockaway community and the ever-changing natural environment that surrounds them which becomes a sixth voice in the piece.

Kevin is a noted educator, a world-class performer and composer, a writer, a thinker and an obsessive problem solver. His groundbreaking models for community engagement and out of school arts education for disadvantaged children have had a dramatic impact on the lives of countless children and have influenced the work of dozens of organizations in New York City and beyond. He’s served on several university advisory boards and regularly sits on selection committees and expert panels.

New York Times critics named the works of his Vanishing Languages Project among the “Best of 2013… as haunting as they were riveting”, The project received a feature story on the syndicated Public Radio International program, The World, and Chicago Classical included the first of the works among its “Top Ten Performances of 2011”.

Other recent premieres include Colors a work for American Public Media’s Radio Radiance series, premiered on a broadcast of it’s popular Celebrating Our Musical Future show, Revolution No. 11, commissioned by the International Beethoven Festival, and the critically acclaimed, 100 Waltzes for John Cage, premiered to rave reviews at the DiMenna Center in New York.

Kevin was a JAPAN-US Friendship Commission Fellow for 2009. He has received awards and grants from the American Composer’s Forum, Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, NEA, NewMusicUSA and many others. Kevin’s Horobi No Naka Kara, commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City was previewed on WNYC radio and premiered in Hiroshima at a concert commemorating the 60th anniversary of the bombing. He has provided music for two film projects in collaboration with filmmaker Elise Kermani, which have been shown at festivals around the world. His cantata, Sadako, commissioned by the Chicago Humanities Festival was the focus of a University of Indiana residency and was premiered by Fulcrum Point New Music Project at Chicago’s Music Now Festival. NYC Play Ground, commissioned by YPC for their Transient Glory Series was premiered in a live broadcast on WNYC radio and chosen to represent the US at the World Choral Music Symposium in Kyoto Japan in 2005. In Complexu Pacis was a winner of the Essentially Choral competition and performed by the renowned VocalEssence. Mr. James’ music has also been performed on the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s Music Off the Walls series, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s Second Helpings Series, the North River Music Series at Greenwich House, the Oregon Bach Festival, and on symposia of the American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America and the Society of Composers Inc. national conferences. 

Visit Kevin’s website at