James Stephenson

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


San Francisco Ballet commission

I have been engaged to write the original score for a 30-minute ballet for the San Francisco Ballet, to premiere in spring, 2021. The choreography will be by Dani Rowe,…

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…

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
Guest of Holland American Legion Band
Monday, February 3, 2020
Residency at Tennessee Tech
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Residency at Tennessee Tech
Friday, February 14, 2020
Residency at Tennessee Tech
Saturday, February 15, 2020

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)
Residency "Composer's Sandbox" at Interlochen Center for the Arts
Jan 20 - Feb 2, 2020

Jim will be a guest composer-in-residence for two weeks at Interlochen, interacting with students, attending rehearsals, and advising as an on-campus resource for students interested in a "life in the arts". Jim attended the Interlochen arts Camp from 1979-1986 (skipping 1985), and the Arts Academy from 1983-86. He was also on faculty for two summers: 2004 and …

Guest of Holland American Legion Band
Feb 3, 2020

Jim to be a guest for rehearsal of a new work: Legions and Legacy, commissioned for the Holland American Legion Band in honor of the 100th anniversary.

Residency at Tennessee Tech
Feb 13 - Feb 15, 2020

Jim to be a guest conductor at Tennessee Tech, for performance of several of his works, including "Symphony #1" and "The Storyteller"

Residency/Guest composer-conductor: WIU
Feb 19 - Feb 22, 2020

Jim's music to be showcased at the WIU Showcase of Bands (led by Mike Fansler), including Jim's 2nd Symphony - VOICES - and other works. Jim will conduct rehearsals and performances with different groups working on his music.

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