James Stephenson

“Stephenson is a composer of real talent.”
~ Minnesota Star Tribune


Winner of the 2018 ABA Otswald Competition

Stephenson’s Symphony No. 2 – VOICES wins the esteemed 2018 Sousa/ABA/Ostwald competition, sponsored by the American Bandmasters Association. This comes on the heels of winning the 2017 National Band Association/KHS…

Grammy-nominated CD!

“Liquid Melancholy – clarinet music of James M. Stephenson” (John Yeh, clarinet) is a GRAMMY-NOMINATED CD! The decision for “Best Engineered Album, Classical”  will occur on February 10, 2019 at…

Current Projects


ROCOmotive” – a commission for the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), this work will be based on miniature trains. The concert will include the world premiere on February 23, 2019, and will be conducted by Brett Mitchell. Tickets

Multi-media Tone Poem

Multi-media tone poem for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mark Russell Smith. World premiere on April 6-7, 2019. The work will involve local photography, art, poetry and original music to tell the rich history of the Quad Cities. Tickets

Symphony #3

Stephenson’s first symphony for orchestra (his first two are for wind ensemble) will receive its world premiere on April 26, 2019, as commissioned/premiered by the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Details forthcoming.

Bass Trombone Concerto

Chicago Symphony/Muti world premiere of bass trombone concerto for Charlie Vernon. Three concerts – June 13-15, 2019. Stephenson will receive his first classical world premiere from the orchestra he grew up listening to! Tickets

Larry Rachleff; Rhode Island Philharmonic Music Director

“It is a pleasure to say that our premiere of Jim’s violin piece was a great success with the Rhode Island Philharmonic in every way…Jim was so wonderful to work with. He is a real talent with terrific ears, ideas, and the most wonderful manner!”

Recent Releases

new works and arrangements

Charlotte Craff; Manager of Artistic Operations, Utah Symphony

“I just wanted to send you a note to say that your arrangements went off in spectacular fashion for our Family Holiday program at the end of December… your charts brought a fresh excitement to the familiar pieces. We really enjoyed it.”

Upcoming Conducting Engagements

As a conductor, Jim offers a wide variety of options, that can lead to more efficient rehearsal and intimate collaboration. Whether premiering a new orchestral work, or directing several works in a festival/college-residency setting, or simply leading a non-Stephenson program, he offers a composer’s insight that otherwise might go untapped, creating a rewarding experience for both performers and audience-members.

Additionally, with his experience and large catalog as an arranger, you can have Jim conduct your themed Pops concert, and bring all of his own arrangements/original works, making for a complete package deal!

Jim standing under train tracks smiling
No events to show

Dr. Scott Meredith; Associate Professor of Trumpet, University of Wyoming

I can’t thank you enough for the joy that you have brought to me and my fellow trumpeters (not to mention the non trumpeters too) with exquisiteness of your music and musicianship! You…are nothing but class!

Upcoming Residencies

Increasingly in demand as a college guest lecturer, Jim has appeared at many colleges and universities across the United States, where he presents talks, master-classes, coachings, and lessons in group or individual settings.

In recent years, these appearances include Ball State University, Indiana University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Kennesaw State University, North Dakota State University, SUNY-Fredonia, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, University of Michigan, University of North Texas, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and Wyoming University.

Residencies are tailored to each institution’s needs but they commonly entail the following:

  • Conducting the organization’s ensemble(s)
  • Masterclasses/lectures with students
  • Public/private events with donors and/or board members
  • Pre/Post concert talks, engagement
  • Private composition lessons (may require additional fees)
Recording Symphony #3 - VISIONS - with Lake Forest Symphony
Oct 28 - Oct 29, 2019

Vladimir Kulenovic and the Lake Forest Symphony record Stephenson's 3rd Symphony - VISIONS. The recording will be on the Cedille record label.

Connect With Jim


Be the first to know about Jim's new works and events.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Send this to a friend