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JAMES SYLER (b.1961) was born in Hyde Park, NY and raised in New York and Florida. In 1983 he received a B.M. degree from Northern Illinois University and in 1988 a M.M. degree from the University of Miami. 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.


Recent commissions include Gearbox for the San Antonio Symphony premiered in March 2009 with James Judd conducting and Tattoo, which was commissioned by a consortium of ten university wind ensembles. Other recent premieres include American Dances for string orchestra by the Houston Chamber Symphony.  Awards include a 2002 commission from the American Composers Forum in New York to compose the String Quartet No. 1 for the Artaria String Quartet of St. Paul, MN and the 1993 National Band Association Composition Award; two grants from the American Music Center in New York, and the 1993 Arnald Gabriel Composition Award.  


Recent publications include Dear Sarah for chorus and piano by Santa Barbara Music in California and he is the author of a new web-based e-textbook for college Music Appreciation courses titled The Concert Hall: A Listener’s Guide To Appreciating Musicpublished by Great River Technologies and Kendall Hunt Publishing in Dubuque, Iowa. In 2001 he was the subject of a doctoral dissertation by Dr. Gregg Gasuline titled The Wind Ensemble Works of James Syler. He was also one of twelve composers featured in a new book entitled A Composer’s Insight: Thoughts, Analysis and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band published by Meredith Music. In 1998 he established Ballerbach Music, a music publishing company which he serves as owner and editor.


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.


Turtle Island String Quartet 

Houston Chamber Symphony
Bel Cuore Saxophone Quartet

San Antonio Symphony 

Artaria String Quartet, St. Paul, MN 

Music Office Youth Choir, Hong Kong, China

Feldmusik Samen, Switzerland

Eastman Wind Ensemble

Sao Paulo Wind Orchestra, Brazil

Vancouver Wind Symphony, Canada 
Peabody Conservatory
San Antonio Choral Society
McGill University, Montreal, Canada
United States Air Force Band
Cora Voce Chorus, Tacoma, WA 
University of Calgary, Canada 
New York Choral Festival
United States Marine Band
American Jazz Philharmonic
Harmonie Laval, Quebec, Canada
Resounding Winds Sax Quartet
Canto Spiritus Chorus, Denver
Tanglewood Institute
San Antonio Choral Society
Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival
San Antonio Mastersingers

University of Texas at Austin Wind Ensemble

St. Olaf Band, Northfield, MN

California State University at Long Beach