Reviews

 

“I listened to your work (THE HOUND OF HEAVEN) and I like it!  I think it’s imaginative and evocative and hope it receives many performances.”
~ Morton Gould, Composer

 

“One thing that is particularly effective about MINTONS PLAYHOUSE is that one feels it is a piece for jazz ensemble, ‘framed’ by the colors and textures of the wind ensemble.”
~ Fanfare Magazine

 

“His works display both excellent craftsmanship and creative inspiration. I find that his music is sophisticated, fresh and vital.”
~ Frank Battisti, Conductor, Retired, New England Conservatory

 

“His orchestral work entitled GEARBOX is a brilliant showpiece that surges with energy from beginning to end.”
~ Craig Doolin, San Antonio Symphony

 

“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.
~ Matthew Schlomer, Conductor, Interlochen Center for the Arts

 

“… from thorny tone clusters to soaring vocal lines to beautiful harmonies THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTHONY is sonically powerful and intensely emotional.”
~ John Silantien, Conductor, Mastersingers Chorus, San Antonio

 

“LOVE AMONG THE RUINS is 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, Conductor, Emory University

 

“The themes presented reveal outstanding construction and provide beautiful opportunities for expression. The middle section stretched the ensemble with its demand for sensitivity. This SINFONIETTA holds a unique place in the oeuvre of wind band literature.”
~ Isaiah Odajima, Conductor, Baylor University

 

“He writes with heart and has the musical and technical ability to realize his conceptions. He is one of the few young composers whose music has moved me.”
~ Michael Colgrass, Composer

 

“LOVE AMONG THE RUINS is 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 …”
~ Scott Weiss, Conductor, University of South Carolina

 

“WU XING is a versatile, colorful work that fills a much-needed spot in the wind band repertoire. Musically enriching and technically accessible, its thoughtfully constructed sections and inherent energy, Syler has created yet another composition of real value.”
~ John Zarco, Conductor, The University of Texas at San Antonio

 

“CONGO SQUARE is a marvelous composition that successfully combines history, a palpable sense of place and time, and musical evolution. The chance to incorporate authentic African drumming is novel and effective.”
 ~ William J. Hochkeppel, Conductor, University of Louisiana

 

“WU XING has it all! … a highly accessible work for a wide range of groups, yet offers a collaborative experience that musicians of all ages can’t help but to grow from.
~ Dan Harbaugh, Director of Bands, Mt. Vernon High School, Missouri

 

“CONGO SQUARE was a wonderful juxtaposition of percussion soloists and wind ensemble. The sonorities in the wind ensemble and rhythmic complexities of the solo parts were beautifully weaved together.”
~ David Martins, Conductor, Boston University

 

“CONGO SQUARE is a kaleidoscope of powerfully evocative musical elements. Syler has a unique talent for distilling the spirit of a place and time into sound to create a three-dimensional sonic portrait. The result is imaginative, compelling, and deeply moving.”
~ Carolyn Barber, Conductor, University of Nebraska

 

“… James Syler’s SYMPHONY NO. 1 “BLUE” is a major addition to the wind ensemble repertoire. What immediately strikes the listener is the depth of the text and music…”
~ Leon Bly, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles

 

“The world premiere of GEARBOX for orchestra was a pleasant surprise … Syler’s composition thrilled the audience with a brassy ride in a well-tuned machine.”
~ San Antonio Express News

 

“What a romp! Any serious conductor who’s also a true lover of bebop should know about MINTONS PLAYHOUSE. It’s great fun, artistically conceived, and skillfully orchestrated.”
~ Stephen Squires, Conductor, Chicago College of the Performing Arts

 

“Among others, we are going to do your tremendously powerful work DEAR SARAH. You have set Major Sullivan’s words with incredible grace and a deep sensitivity.”
~ Mark Boyle, ChoralConductor, Rutgers University

 

“THE HOUND OF HEAVEN is a masterfully crafted work by composer James Syler. It is a challenging composition destined to enrich the contemporary repertoire with its imaginative and innovative effects.”
~ Arnald Gabriel, Conductor Emeritus, United States Air Force Band

 

“… I don’t know that I’ve ever seen my choir become so attached to a piece as immediately as they did to DEAR SARAH.”
~ Sharon Paul, Choral Conductor, University of Oregon

 

“FIELDS remains one of the most prominent works for wind band on my Core Repertoire list.
James Syler is a master at exploiting sonic resources to create musical images of depth and poignancy as well as joy and sanctity.”
~ Richard L. Johnson, Coastal Carolina University

 

“Through a brilliant use of the wind ensemble colors, Syler has captured the expression of Storyville and its people. STORYVILLE is a particularly moving and emotional experience.”
~ Bobby Francis, Conductor, Texas Christian University

 

“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

 

Recordings

 

The Hound of Heaven appears on the NAXOS CD “Strange Humors” featuring the Rutgers University Wind Ensemble (Naxos Records)

 

 

 

 

Minton’s Playhouse appears on “David Maslanka Symphony No. 5” featuring the Illinois State University Wind Ensemble (Albany Records)

 

 

 

 

Minton’s Playhouse appears on “WASBE 2005”  featuring the Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Albany Records)

 

 

 

 

Dear Sarah  appears on “Love of My Soul” featuring the University of Miami Chorale (Albany Records)

 

 

 

 

Symphony No. 1 ‘Blue’  appears on “University of Miami Wind Ensemble” featuring the University of Miami Chorale and Wind Ensemble (Albany Records)