Fields of Study:
Degrees and Studies:
BM, North Texas University
MM, Yale University
James McElwaine has been a featured performer, writer, arranger, synthesist, orchestrator, conductor, composer and producer in New York and Los Angeles for nearly forty years. He has recorded over 600 musical compositions. His diverse musical collaborations have included Randy Newman, Cuba Gooding, Susan Davenny Wyner, Steven Spielberg, Al Foster, the Temptations, Max Morath, Mary Wells, the Clancy Brothers, the Burning Man Group, Marvin Gaye, Randy Brecker, Sue Foley, Afrika Bambataa, Joseph Papp and Jim Henson.
His work in theater has earned six Tony nominations and eight Obie nominations. He orchestrated two Broadway scores, Starmites and The Slow Drag, and he was nominated for the Outer Critic's Circle Award for his orchestrations for 1982's Goblin Market. In the last 30 years, he has underscored more than thirty dramatic productions in the New York City area. In addition, his music has been heard on the Muppet Babies Talking Books, Fraggle Rock, and in numerous commercial and industrial environments. Since 2000, he has been a contributing author of musical biography for Scribner's Encyclopedia of American Lives.
In 1976, he co-founded Musical Elements, a NYC chamber orchestra that, across its 15-year span, specialized in commissioning and performing 20th century scores. Two years later, he toured Europe as vocalist, keyboardist, and arranger for Vanguard Records' disco-jazz artists, The Players Association. Since then, his career has been dedicated to bridging the unfortunate professional disparities between 'serious' and 'popular' music.
In 1986, he founded the renowned studio composition program at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College – SUNY, the first degree-program in commercial composition in public higher education. After mentoring over one thousand professional writers at that school across 25 years, he retired as professor emeritus in 2012. He now teaches composition, production, and digital audio technology at Queens College – CUNY for the Aaron Copland School of Music.
Originally from the Gulf Coast, his initial studies were in physics and theology, followed by degrees in music at the University of North Texas and Yale University. He now resides in Cos Cob, Connecticut with his wife Theresa.
Digital Recording and Composition I & II, Film Scoring, Songwriting, Music and Lyrics of Hip-Hop