James R. Carlson (b. 1970, Everett, WA) has composed works for theater, dance, chorus, orchestra, voice and various chamber combinations. Carlson's works have been performed at the New Music Days Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, the North Carolina Dance Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, the NYU Composers Seminar and the Sonoklect New Music Festival. His works have also been performed by the Ciompi String Quartet, the Rilke Ensemble Choir, the Auros Group for New Music and the NEC Chamber Singers. Carlson's large-scale cantata, Motets & Marginalia, was premiered at the 2001 Encounters/UNC Festival of New Music in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and performed again by the University of Washington Chorale in Seattle in 2002. His work, Labyrinth (2001) for alto saxophone and narrator, was performed in Belgium and Luxembourg and was recently featured at the New Music Festival II at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In May 2003, his piano piece Gryllus was performed at the "Old Links to New Music" Contemporary Music Festival at Otterbein College in Ohio.
Carlson's composition Symbiosis Nonetheless for string quartet and recorded/processed voices received the 1998 Duke University Klenz Prize and received honorable mentions in both the 1998 Collegium Novum Young Composers Competition and the 1999 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards. Carlson's chamber piece Annuntiantes received an honorable mention in the 1998 Auros Group for New Music composition contest and his Wrestling with the Angel was selected to be read at the Winter 1997 ACF Orchestral Reading Project. In 1997, Carlson composed the music for the successful show Walking Miracles, a Ways and Means Dance Company and Manbites Dog Theater production which deals with issues of survivors of childhood sexual abuse. A film adaptation of this show is now currently available on video through www.sidran.org. In 1998, he co-composed with African percussionist Beverly Botsford the music for the Ways and Means Dance Co. production Contents Under Pressure. His most recent collaborative project was Art Moves, an evening-length on-site dance production at the Knoxville Museum of Art (May 2003). He is currently working on commissions for saxophonist Paul Haar (alto saxophone and wind quintet) and the Knoxville Choral Society Chorale.
Winner of a Frank Huntington Beebe Fund grant, Carlson studied for a year in Stockholm, Sweden (1994-95). He received his M.M. from the New England Conservatory and his B.M. from Central Washington University. His teachers have included Scott Lindroth, Stephen Jaffe, Arne Mellnäs, Robert Ceely, Janice Giteck and Robert Panerio, Sr. Carlson maintains an interest in musicology, particularly in medieval and Renaissance topics, as well as music and alchemy and the occult; furthermore, he has studied musicology at Tufts University. Carlson recently received his Ph.D. in composition from Duke University. During the 2000-01 school year, he was a visiting assistant professor of composition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the following year he was a faculty associate of music theory at Arizona State University. He is currently living in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he teaches as a visiting assistant professor at the University of the South in Sewanee and as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee School of Music.
James Carlson is a member of ASCAP, American Composers Forum, the American Music Center, and the Knoxville Choral Society
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