James, Philip (Frederick Wright)

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James, Philip (Frederick Wright)

James, Philip (Frederick Wright), American organist, conductor, composer, and teacher; b. Jersey City, N.J., May 17, 1890; d. Southampton, N.Y., Nov. 1, 1975. He received rudimentary instruction in music from his sister, and later studied composition with Rubin Goldmark, Homer Norris, Elliot Schenck, and Rosario Scalerò. He also studied organ with J. Warren Andrews, and later with Joseph Bonnet and Alexandre Guilmant in Paris. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and in 1918-19 served as bandmaster of the American Expeditionary Force General Headquarters Band. Returning to the U.S., he held various posts as organist and choirmaster in several churches in N.Y., and also conducted the Victor Herbert Opera Co. (1919–22). He then was founder-conductor of the N.J. Sym. Orch. (1922–29), and also conducted the Brooklyn Orch. Soc. (1927–30) and the Bamberger Little Sym. (WOR Radio, N.Y, 1929-36). In 1923 he joined the faculty of N.Y.U., becoming chairman of its music dept. in 1933 and retiring in 1955. In 1933 he was elected a member of the National Inst. of Arts and Letters. His compositions generally followed along late Romantic lines.


orch:3 Bret Harte overtures (n.d.; 1924; 1934, rev. 1938); Kammersymphonie (1926); Overture in Olden Style on French Noëls for Small Orch. (1926; rev. for Large Orch., 1929; N.Y, Feb. 23, 1930); Judith for Reciter and Chamber Orch. (1927; N.Y, Feb. 18, 1930; also for Reciter and Piano); Sea Symphony for Baritone and Orch. (1928; Frankfurt am Main, July 14, 1960); Station WGZBX, suite (1931; N.Y, May 1, 1932); Song of the Night, symphonic poem (1931; N.Y., March 15, 1938); Suite for Strings (1933; N.Y, April 28, 1934); Gwalia, Welsh Rhapsody for Small Orch. (N.Y., Nov. 14, 1935; rev. for Large Orch., 1937); Sinfonietta for Chamber Orch. (1938; N.Y, Nov. 10, 1941; rev. 1943); Brennan on the Moor for Small Orch. (N.Y., Nov. 28, 1939; also for Large Orch., 1940); 2 syms.: No. 1 (1943; rev. 1961) and No. 2 (1946; Rochester, N.Y, May 7, 1966); Miniver Cheevy and Richard Cory for Reciter and Orch. (Saratoga Springs, N.Y, Sept.9, 1947); Chaumont, symphonic poem for Small Orch. (1948; N.Y, May 2, 1951). Band: Perstare et Praestare (N.Y., June 10, 1942; also for Orch., 1946); E.F.G., overture (1944; N.Y., June 13, 1945); Fanfare and Ceremonial (1955; N.Y., June 20, 1956; rev. 1962). CHAMBER: String Quartet (1924; rev. 1939); Suite for Woodwind Quintet (1936); Piano Quartet (1938; rev. 1948). keyboard: piano:Our Town, suite (1945); 12 Preludes (1946–51). organ:Méditation à Ste. Clotilde (1915); Dithyramb (1921); Fête (1921); Sonata (1929); Pantomime (1941); Galarnad (1946); Novelette (1946); Solemn Prelude (1948); Alleluia-Toccata (1949); Pastorale (1949); Requiescat in pace (1949; rev. 1955); Passacaglia on an Old Cambrian Bass (1951; also for Orch., 1956, and for Band, 1957); Sortie (1973). VOCAL: Magnificat for Soloists, Chorus, and Organ (1910); Te Deum for Chorus and Organ (1910); The Victory Riders for Baritone and Orch. (1919–25); Stabat mater speciosa for Chorus and Orch. (1921; rev. 1930); Missa imaginum for Chorus and Orch. (1929); Chorus of Shepherds and Angels for Women’s Voices and Strings (1959); Missa brevis for Chorus (1963; rev. as Mass in Honor of St. Mark, 1966); about 13 cantatas (1916–66); motets; anthems; Psalms; part songs; songs.


H. James, A Catalog of the Musical Works of P. J. (1890–1975) (N.Y., 1980; suppl, 1984).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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James, Philip (Frederick Wright)

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