Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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James, Philip

(b Jersey City, NJ, 17 May 1890; dSouthampton, NY, 1 Nov 1975). American composer and conductor. He studied the organ with J.W. Andrews, J.F. Bridges and Alexandre Guilmant, and composition with Homer Norris, Rubin Goldmark, Rosario Scalero and Elliott Schenck, with whom he also studied conducting. He received a baccalaureate degree from City College, CUNY (1910), and an honorary doctorate from New York College of Music (1946). During World War I he served in the 308th Regimental US Army Band and after the armistice became associate conductor of General John Pershing’s American Expeditionary Forces General Headquarters Band. He went on to conduct the Broadway production of Victor Herbert's My Golden Girl. He co-founded and conducted the New Jersey Orchestra (1922–9) and conducted the Little Bamburger Orchestra in its weekly broadcasts on WOR radio (1929–36). In 1923 James assisted Albert Stoessel in founding the music department at New York University. He acted as department chair from 1934 to 1955. He also served as secretary of the MacDowell Association, vice-president of the Institute of Arts and Letters, president of the Society for the Preservation of American Music, and as a juror for the Naumburg award, the Prix de Rome and other competitions.

James’s choral works are strongly influenced by English cathedral music and his Welsh heritage, while his orchestral works respond to French and German late-Romanticism. Progressive in their use of polyrhythms and polytonality, these works reveal a mastery of orchestration. The compositions for organ are virtuoso in nature and the songs, in a Victorian style, were popular with major artists of the time.


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