JAMES SYLER (b.1961) was born in Hyde Park, NY and raised in New York and Florida. He received a B.M. degree from Northern Illinois University in 1983 and in a M.M. degree from the University of Miami in 1988. In 1991 he continued his studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has studied privately with composers Alfred Reed, Karl Korte and Pulitzer prizewinner Michael Colgrass. Equally at ease with modern and traditional techniques, his compositions have been noted for their lyricism and drama. His compositional interests move equally between orchestral, wind ensemble, choral and chamber forms. He has developed a personal style that is eclectic, energetic and innovative, yet able to communicate with diverse audiences. His works have been performed nationally and internationally.
Awards include a 2002 commission from the American Composers Forum in New York to compose the String Quartet No. 1for the Artaria String Quartet of St. Paul, MN, the 1993 National Band Association Composition Award, two grants from the American Music Center in New York, the 1993 Arnald Gabriel Composition Award, and more than 20 commissions to date. In 1998 he established Ballerbach Music, a music publishing company that for 15 years published the works of more than 20 composers. Since 2013, Ballerbach Music is now dedicated to exclusively promoting and publishing his own music.
Mr. Syler has been on the adjunct faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio since 2001 and teaches private composition lessons, Orchestration, Contrapuntal Techniques, Masterpieces of Music and American Roots Music. From 1998-2001 he was on the faculty at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida and from 1995-1998 at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Mr. Syler is married to pianist Elizabeth Gutierrez and resides in San Antonio, Texas.