Testimonials

Regarding Holiday Pops Programs
from 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. Our in-house holiday music selection is quite lean … and serious, but your charts brought a fresh excitement to the familiar pieces. We really enjoyed it.

Regarding Holiday Pops Programs
from Pasquale Laurino, Artistic Director/Conductor
Racine Symphony

The Racine Symphony Orchestra just played to a sold out and very enthusiastic audience featuring an entire evening of your music. In addition to the many appealing Christmas arrangements, your original scores of “Hot Santa” and Timeless Treasures” were winningly performed by a talented local singer. Largely due to the strength of your delightful music Jim, this was the most successful Holiday Pops concert of my tenure. I can’t thank you enough for your role in a concert experience that was so satisfying for both the audience and the musicians. BRAVO!

Regarding “Violin Fantasie Concerto” for violin/orchestra:
from Larry Rachleff MD Rhode Island Philharmonic
MD Shepherd School of Music of Orchestras Professor

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!

General:
from Gail Williams, former Chicago Symphony hornist; Professor of french horn, Northwestern University
Jim..
what can I say.. You challenge me musically and with a good “kick in the pants” technically!! I feel very honored to be able to premier a number of your masterpieces and look forward to more before I hang this horn up.

Regarding “Violin Fantasie Concerto” for violin/orchestra:

from Alexander Kerr
Concertmaster, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Linda and Jack Gill Chair, Professor of Music, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Former Concertmaster, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

“Working with Jim Stephenson was a fantastic experience!

As a collaborator, he was open, accessible and inspiring. The parts were immaculate, received AHEAD of schedule and were extremely clear in terms of musical expression.

Best of all, his Fantasie for Violin and Orchestra is a fantastic piece of music! It evokes so many emotional reactions and one hears it’s distinct voice from the very first bars. The audience loved it, and rightfully so. It is the best of what 21st century music can be: music that inspires and entertains while in no way pandering for any sort of easy listening audience reaction. It is, simply put, great music.”

Regarding Compose Yourself! (young-audience orchestral showpiece)

from Janice Crews, Manager of School and Family programs, Atlanta Symphony

“Compose Yourself! by James Stephenson has the perfect blend of education and entertainment. Students learn about the instruments of the orchestra and even get to participate in composing a piece using three elements of music- melody, harmony, and rhythm. The program is lighthearted and comical and the musicians really got into the theatrical aspects of it. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will definitely be using this fantastic educational program again.”

Regarding Trumpet Concerto #1:
from Jeffrey Work, principal trumpet, Oregon Symphony

“When Jim Stephenson collaborates with a performer, he really does a great job writing for the individual person as well as for the occasion. The Trumpet Concerto which I premiered both played to my strengths and stretched me as well. As the composition came together, I felt very comfortable giving Jim reactions and suggestions, many of which made their way into the final score. The end result delighted the audience, made an excellent impression on the orchestra players and, perhaps most importantly, became a valued addition to the trumpet repertoire!”

Regarding “Ode to Peace” for orchestra

from Jon Kalbfleisch, Music Director, Lawton Philharmonic

www.jonkalbfleisch.com
www.facebook.com/JonKalbfleisch

Jim Stephenson is a very talented composer, and equally skilled as a collaborator, with the ability to communicate his craft and love of music to symphony boards and audiences alike.

Regarding “Arch sonata” for bass trombone:
from Gerry Pagano, Bass trombone, St. Louis Symphony

Jim was a pleasure to work with, and came up with a fantastic piece of music, not just for me, but an addition to the rep that has already been performed by Randy Hawes and Doug Yeo. It is a real asset to have Jim’s writing for our instrument!

Regarding Trumpet concerto #2 “Rextreme“:
from Rex Richardson, International trumpet artist

“It’s no accident that Jim Stephenson has become the “it” guy among American composers. His is a truly prodigious talent, endlessly inventive and astonishingly prolific. You NEED to hear his music!”

Regarding “Intrepid Promise” for wind ensemble:

from Douglas Nimmo, Director of wind ensemble (retired), Gustavus Adolphus college

After choosing Jim to compose a piece for the 150th Celebration of Gustavus, I was immediately impressed when Jim asked if he could come to campus to talk about the history of the college and history of music at the college. Moreover, he wanted to know what I thought was important about Gustavus, because he wanted to be engaged from the very beginning. The result was a magnificent and very thoughtful piece—which was premiered at the Gustavus Music Showcase in March of 2012. Thank you, Jim!

Regarding “Fantasie” for trumpet/piano:
from Paul Merkelo, solo trumpet, Montreal Symphony

Jim wrote for me, in 2005, a tribute piece for one of my heroes, Timofei Dokshizer, one of the greatest trumpet players of all time.
His composition is a gem that captures all the lyricism, drama, and virtuosity that Mr Dokshizer possessed in his own playing.
I’m honored that Jim wrote such a masterpiece for me, and that we could premiere it at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in 2005.

General:
from Mark George
President and CEO
Music Institute of Chicago

Jim Stephenson writes music that is highly engaging, smart and utterly enjoyable…..just like him.

Regarding “Elegy for Mundy
from Stephen Burns; international trumpet soloist, and founder/director of Fulcrum Point, Chicago

In “Elegy for Mundy” Jim has captured the essence of the great Armando Ghitalla; elegant, lyrical, dramatic, tender, and operatic. With musical allusions to Mundy’s great recordings of Copland, Hummel, Opera Arias, and Boehme, this heartfelt duo should enter the repertoire of every serious trumpeter.

Regarding “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
from Jeffrey Work, principal trumpet, Oregon Symphony

“My first experience with Jim Stephenson the composer (as opposed to my longtime friend Jim Stephenson the trumpeter) came hearing the large orchestra version of his “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The piece genuinely impressed me with its ingeniousness, its craftsmanship, and its emotional impact. It not only motivated me to help bring his Trumpet Concerto into the world, but also to encourage the same orchestra to commission a chamber orchestra version of Sleepy Hollow the very next year. A somewhat more compact “tightened up” version of the original resulted. The new version, I believe, became at once more effective—and with the smaller instrumentation, more cost effective for orchestras! As a novelty for our audience, we had Jim conduct and our Music Director did the narration. Both of them did terrific work!”

Regarding “Pandora’s Waltz – concerto for Flute and orchestra“:

from Bill Larsen, principal flute, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra

Jim Stephenson wrote an exceptional piece for my wife’s trio called “Mountain Laurel Trio”. After year’s of orchestral trumpeting, his ear naturally captured the spirit and tone color of the bass clarinet and piccolo. It was an easy decision to commission Jim to write a piece in honor of my 25th season as principal flute with the Southwest Florida Symphony. The result is a fantastic and demanding concerto entitled “Pandora’s Waltz”. During the process, Jim and I became good friends.

General:
from Charlie Schlueter, former principal trumpet, Boston Symphony Orchestra

I’ve known Jim for a quarter century. First as one of my outstanding students at NEC, where he completely hid (or hadn’t discovered) his amazing talent as a composer. Years later, I had the privilege to “sub” for him in the Naples Philharmonic. Through my foundation, I was honored to be able to contribute funding for several of his compositions, and most recently to actually commission “It’s About Time” for Marvin Stamm and me which received its premiere on March 8, 2014 with the NEC Wind Ensemble; “Duo Fantastique”, written for Eric Berlin and me, premiered at the ITG Conference in 2007 with the United States Coast Guard Band and recorded with the UMass Wind ensemble in 2009. My only regret is that I won’t be able to perform all of Jim’s beautiful compositions for trumpet. I’m extremely proud to have Jim as a friend also.

Regarding “The Road Not Taken” for bass trombone and trombone ensemble:
from Matthew T. Guilford
Bass Trombone, National Symphony Orchestra
Associate Artist-in-Residence, The University of Maryland at College Park
Faculty, The Catholic University of America
Director, National Music Management Agency

I have known Jim Stephenson for a very long time. When I initially approached Jim about writing a piece for me and The Washington Trombone Ensemble, I gave him very few guidelines. There were just a few things which I wanted to see included in the work, but the rest I entrusted to Jim.
I play this work now as one wears a custom-fitted suit.

Road Not Taken was completed before the due date and was on my music stand ready to be shedded well in advance of the premiere. It is now considered a major addition to the solo bass trombone repertoire as well as trombone choir repertoire.

Regarding “August in York” for trumpet and concert band:
from Chuck Long (soloist and dedicatee)

The wonderful piece Jim composed on commission from my family for my 70th birthday (that seems a long time ago!), I have nothing but positives to say about Jim. Not only was the music great and challenging, especially for a 70-year-old, but I found Jim a delight to work with in every way. The entire experience right through the world premier was a total pleasure, and I am honored to be among the fortunate group of folks who have had their musical lives impacted by contact with Jim Stephenson. Keep on doing what you’re doing, Jim, it just keeps getting better!

Regarding “Suite Nostalgique” for trumpet/piano:
from Marsha Caron
Director of Fine Arts, retired
Vice President, The Charles Schlueter Foundation, Inc.
Consultant, Encore Etc., Inc.

I am extremely grateful to Jim for his willingness to accept a commission on short notice for a work dedicated to my husband, Dennis. The piece turned out to be a perfect fit and we are both delighted and honored that Jim would do this for us.

Regarding “Legacies for Three” for three trumpets/piano:
from Christopher Wilson, DMA
Assistant Professor of Music, trumpet

I have been lucky to be involved with a couple of projects with Jim. The amount of quality repertoire that he has added to our craft is so remarkable and I look forward to many more collaborations!!