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"You really write exactly what you want to write and that is excellent. The pieces are full of energy and musicality ..."

~ Samuel Adler, The Juilliard School 

"His orchestral work entitled 'Gearbox' is a brilliant showpiece that surges with energy from beginning to end. Throughout the piece, his gift of lyricism within a dramatic framework is apparent to all who listen." 

~  San Antonio Symphony Program Notes


"He writes with heart and has the musical and technical abilities to realize his conceptions. He is one of the few young composers whose music has moved me."

~ Michael Colgrass, Composer

"One thing that is particularly effective about the work 'Minton's Playhouse' is that one feels it is a piece for jazz ensemble, 'framed' by the colors and textures of the full wind ensemble."

~ Fanfare Magazine

“James Syler’s ‘Symphony No. 1’ ... is a major addition to the wind ensemble repertoire. What immediately strikes the listener about this composition with a title ‘Blue’ is the depth of the text and music and the absence of all of the possible stereotypes ..." 

~ Leon Bly, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles 













Jan 28 Wayne State Honor Band Festival, NE Wu Xing Concertino

Jan 28 Siam Sax Qt and Mahidol University, Thailand International Jazz Conference, Bangkok, Minton's Playhouse

Feb 08 Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand Minton’s Playhouse

Feb 17 University of North Carolina Greensboro, NC Congo Square

Feb 24 Chabot College Wind Symphony, CA Wu Xing Concertino

Feb 24 Emory University, GA Love Among the Ruins

Mar 09 University of Texas at San Antonio, TX Love Among the Ruins

Mar 12 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, WI Wu Xing Concertino

Mar 15 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, WI Wu Xing Concertino

Mar 30 University of South Carolina, SC Love Among the Ruins

Apr 20 University of Connecticut, CT Congo Square

Apr 22 Interlochen Arts Academy, MI Love Among the Ruins

May 07 University of the Incarnate Word, Dear Sarah

May 13 Adolphus Gustavus College, MN Sinfonietta

Oct 01 Univ. of North Carolina - Greensboro, Love Among the Ruins 

Oct 04 University of Michigan Concert Band, Congo Square 

Oct 25 University of Louisiana - Lafayette, Storyville 

Nov 01 Texas A&M University - Kingsville, Love Among the Ruins 

Nov 12 Youth Orchestra of San Antonio Symphonic Band, Wu Xing 

Nov 14 University of Georgia, Love Among the Ruins

Nov 16 University of Colorado at Boulder, Love Among the Ruins 

Nov 29 Florida Atlantic University, Love Among the Ruins 

Dec 02 Elizabethtown College, Wu Xing Concertino


Feb 21 University of Miami, Sinfonietta and Love Among the Ruins 

Feb 22 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Love Among the Ruins 

            at CBDNA Southern Conference, Tampa, FL

Feb 22 University of North Texas, O Magnum Mysterium 

Feb 28 University of Louisiana Lafayette, Congo Square

Mar 11 University of Louisiana Lafayette, Storyville, Congo Square    

            performed in New Orleans for the cities Tricentennial. 

Mar 18 Symphonic Band of Mittelbaden & FineFones Sax Quartet, 

            Rastatt, Germany,Mintons Playhouse

Mar 25 University of Louisiana Lafayette, Storyville at the Louisiana 

            Concert Band Invitational Festival

Apr 08 San Antonio Wind Symphony and Mastersingers Chorus 

           The Temptation of Saint Anthony, Dear Sarah, Hocus Pocus

Apr 15 University of the Incarnate Word, Silent Shadows to the Last

Apr 19 New Mexico State University, The Hound of Heaven

Apr 23 University of Nebraska, Fields

May 20 San Antonio Choral Society, El Camino de las Misiones 


SCINTILLA New Wind Trio to be premiered at NASA Conference and World Saxophone Congress in Croatia

Saxophonist Chris Beaty and the Texas A&M Commerce Faculty Trio are leading a  new consortium commission for a new work for Alto Sax, Clarinet, and Flute. The first of multiple premieres will be March 11, 2018 at the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and then again in July at the World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb, Croatia. This work will be a high-energy dazzling 5 minute work titled ScintillaThere are still spots available in the consortium. If interested, contact Chris Beaty at or myself at 

New Band Commission from Louisiana CBDNA 

The College Band Directors National Association of Louisiana has commissioned a new 12-15 minute work for wind ensemble to be premiered in January 2019 by the Louisiana Intercollegiate Band. I'll be working on it this summer. More details coming soon.

First Performance of STORYVILLE and CONGO SQUARE in New Orleans for 300th Anniversary 

Conductor Dr. William Hochkeppel will lead his University of Louisiana Lafayette Wind Ensemble in the first performance of these New Orleans based works in New Orleans as part of the cities Tricentennial. After more than 20 years Storyville, which dramatizes the historic and infamous New Orleans Red-Light District, will receive its first performance in New Orleans, along with the more recent Congo Square that also brings to life the cities famous location for music gathering that stretches back to the 1700's.   

SILENT SHADOWS TO THE LAST - Three Walt Whitman Poems for Soprano & Band to Premiere April 2018

There are very few works for soprano and grade 3 band. Thanks to Dr. Brett Richardson at the University of the Incarnate Word for leading a consortium of colleges and ensembles to commission this new 9 minute work. I think band conductors will find this work to be very technically accessible yet one that doesn't sacrifice artistic sophistication. What a joy it was to set these timeless Walt Whitman poems - Look Down Fair Moon, A Clear Midnight, and A Prairie Sunset.  

EL CAMINO DE LAS MISIONES New Choral Work for San Antonio Tricentennial to Premiere in May

2018 marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of the city of San Antonio, Texas. To celebrate, the San Antonio Choral Society has commissioned a new 18 minute choral work. El Camino de las Misiones (The Mission Road) is a 5 movement work for chorus, native American flute, guitar, and percussion based on the five historic Spanish Missions in San Antonio. The premiere will be May 20, 2018 at the beautiful and grand Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower cathedral in San Antonio. 

LOVE AMONG THE RUINS Viola Concerto Now For Sale

Love Among the Ruins is a new work for Viola and Wind Ensemble commissioned by a consortium of 14 universities organized by Dr. Matthew Schlomer, conductor at the Interlochen Arts Academy. The title is from the poem Love Among the Ruins by Robert Browning. The music features the viola for its color, expressivity, and voice within a narrative. Now available for sale. See the "Wind Ensemble" page for details.

“Love Among the Ruins seems to achieve the impossible with a perfect orchestration for viola soloist and wind ensemble. This wonderfully patient work takes the audience to an intimate sense of introspection that is incredibly rare in our repertoire. Our audience was talking about it for weeks after the premiere.”

~ Matthew Schlomer, Interlochen Center for the Arts

“… a richly textured work that probes the wonderful sonic possibilities of the winds/solo viola combination. This music is personal, heartfelt, and full of sustained lines, and, above all, beautifully melodic."

~ Paul Bhasin, Emory University

“... a moving and poignant work full of beautiful colors and evocative melodies. Distinctive in its scoring and musical content, the piece is a most welcome addition to the repertoire and will fit very nicely into virtually any concert program.”

~ Scott Weiss, University of South Carolina

Duration: 18'  Score & Parts for Sale $250.  Extra Score 30.

Listen at:

WU XING Concertino for Two Percussion & Band Awarded CBDNA Young Band Composition Award

Wu Xing was recently awarded the 2016 College Band Directors National Association Young Band Composition Award. Many thanks to the consortium members who made the music possible and the CBDNA for this honor. 

The Wu Xing are the traditional Chinese five phases - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. “Wu” refers to the number 5 and “Xing” the phases. The work features two solo percussionists playing a variety of sounds organized by instruments made of, or representing, metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. The final "Earth" section uses two bass drums playing a 5-note rhythm, in five phrases, of five rhythms each, that grows in power to the end. Very unique and playable by high schools and above. 

"... a versatile, colorful work that fills a much-needed spot in the wind band repertoire. Musically enriching and technically accessible, our ensemble has had a wonderful time collaborating on the piece. Through its thoughtfully constructed sections and inherent energy, Syler has created yet another composition of real value."   

~ John Zarco, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Wu Xing has it all! The energy and colors that Syler includes appeal to the performer and audience member alike. This work is highly accessible to a wide range of groups, yet offers a collaborative experience that musicians of all ages can’t help but to grow from. Wu Xing is a truly worthy addition

~ Dan Harbaugh, Mt. Vernon High School, Mt. Vernon, Missouri

Grade 3/4 10'  Score & Parts $150.  Extra Score $30.

See a performance on YouTube at: