International Composer in Residence
Chicago area composer James Stephenson’s works have been performed by leading American orchestras and around the world, and have been hailed by critics as having “straightforward, unabashedly beautiful sounds” and “Stephenson deserves to be heard again and again!” (Boston Herald). His music incorporates a fresh and energizing sound scape that engages the audience while maintaining integrity and worthwhile challenges for the performing musicians. This rare combination has rewarded Stephenson with a host of ongoing commissions and projects.
Recent Stephenson premieres include two new violin concertos performed by the Minnesota Orchestra (Osmo Vanska conducting, Jennifer Frautschi, violin) and the Rhode Island Philharmonic (Larry Rachleff with Alex Kerr). These works, along with his oboe concerto, were commissioned by the esteemed Minnesota Commissioning Club, and proved a wonderful boost to his early career as full-timer composer. His 2nd trumpet concerto has been performed on five continents since its premiere in Australia by Rex Richardson in 2010. His growing catalog now boasts concertos and sonatas for nearly every wind instrument, in addition to the violin and piano. Commissions for solo works have come from principal players in the the symphonies of Chicago, Boston, NY Phil, Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestra, Washington DC (National), Oregon, Dallas, among others.