Currently serving as the Division Director for Music Theory and Composition at the University of Kansas, Professor James Barnes teaches music composition, orchestration, arranging and wind band history/repertoire courses. At KU, he served as Staff Arranger, Assistant, and later, Associate Director of Bands for 27 years.
His numerous publications for concert band and orchestra are extensively performed world-wide. His works (including six symphonies) have been performed at such venues as Tanglewood, Boston Symphony Hall, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and the Tokyo Metropolitan Concert Hall.
Barnes twice received the coveted American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award for outstanding contemporary wind band music. He has been the recipient of numerous ASCAP Awards for composers of serious music, the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Medal and the Bohumil Makovsky Award for Outstanding College Band Conductors, along with other numerous honors and grants.
The world-famous Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra has recorded three compact discs of his music. Southern Music Company has released three albums of his compositions, including Symphonies, a double CD set featuring four of his symphonies for band.
Over the years, Mr. Barnes has been commissioned to compose works for all five of the major American military bands in Washington, DC. The most recent CD release by the United States Air Force Band features two different works by James Barnes: Dreamers, written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of powered flight by the Wright brothers and Wild Blue Yonder, commissioned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force.
Mr. Barnes has traveled extensively as a guest composer, conductor and lecturer throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. He has guest conducted in Japan over 35 times. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Bandmasters Association and numerous other professional organizations and societies. Since 1984, his music has been exclusively published by Southern Music Company, San Antonio, Texas.