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James Welch

Piano,/Music Theater


Known for his performances on three continents, JAMES WELCH maintains an active career as a piano soloist, chamber musician, conductor and instructor of piano at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia School of Music. He was a prize winner in many piano competitions including the John Pierce Langs and the Bradshaw and Buono International. He has performed solo and lecturer recitals for the SUNY at Buffalo; the SUNY at Fredonia; Morgan State University; East Carolina University; Jamestown Community College; all throughout the Portland, OR area; Lucca, Italy; and festivals throughout southern France. His chamber music performances have been heard on the stages of the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park with the Southwest String Quartet and a premiere performance with saxophonist Grant Larson of Philip Wharton’s Prohibition; the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society in Ontario with the Antero Winds; the Sydney Music Conservatorium in Sydney, Australia with soprano, Lianna Valente on the premiere performance of Dr. Timothy Brown’s Dreams Kept, Dreams Deferred; the many stages of the SUNY at Fredonia with various artists and repertoire including John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man and Lukas Foss’s Time Cycle; The Bop Stop in Cleveland, OH with The META Trio; stages along Italy’s Adriatic Coast with the Postacchini String Quartet; and his Carnegie Hall Debut in New York with violinist, Kaden Culp. His performances have been praised for his creative artistry by composers Lee Hoiby, John Corigliano, Eric Ewazen, Ian Clarke and Jason Robert Brown; to name a few. He has worked under the batons of Glen Cortese, Joann Falletta, William Weinert, Hugh Floyd, Joel Revzen, and Hans Schellevis. Additionally, he has played in workshops for William Eddins, Thomas Sauer, Renee Fleming, Giuseppe Sabatini, Victoria Clark, and Karen Akers. You can hear some of James’s performances with Jacob Swanson on their premiere recording titled, Invisible Cities.

James is also an active conductor and director of musical theatre. Recent credits include: Sweet Charity, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Ordinary Days (the Buffalo, NY premiere performance); The Last 5 Years (in performance for the composer, Jason Robert Brown); Spring Awakening; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Godspell (2012 version); Little Shop of Horrors; Little Women; Once Upon a Mattress; Annie Get Your Gun; The Pirates of Penzance; and John & Jen; with theatre companies Sierra Repertory Theatre in Sonora, CA; University of Fredonia in Fredonia, NY; East Carolina University; O’Connell & Company, and New Buffalo Productions. Concert highlights include: A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt with headliner Yesnia McNett; a revue of Jason Robert Brown’s music (with Jason Robert Brown), and a Broadway revue concert featuring singer/actor Keith Buterbaugh on the Chautauqua Institute’s Amphitheater concert series. Other musical and operatic credits include: The Pirates of Penzance, Pippin, Kiss Me Kate, The Sound of Music, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Urinetown, Chicago, Anything Goes, Don Giovanni, Suor Angelica, Così fan tutte, La Cenerentola, The Abduction of Figaro and Carmen.

In recent years, James has arranged many workshops and benefit concerts to help support education, performance, and fundraisers. Highlights include: Workshops for singers and actors with Judy Kuhn (Disney’s Pocahontas); Tony Award winning musical director, Brian Usifer; an alumni piano recital to support endowments for the SUNY at Fredonia School of Music; and a church benefit concert which raised over $5,000 to build a self-sustaining medical clinic in LeCayes, Hatti.

James also has over 20 years of experience as a singer, conductor, educator, and administrator. Currently he is the pianist for the Western New York Chamber Orchestra; and a collaborative pianist for the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, CO. In previous years, he worked for the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) Choral Program; the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp; the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus; Director of many church music programs including choral, handbell, contemporary, orchestral, and instrumental chamber ensembles; and served as the board President for the Akron Community Band of Akron, NY.James received his MM in Piano Performance from East Carolina University, and his BM in Piano Performance and Performer’s Certificate from the SUNY at Fredonia; with additional studies in piano from Music at Ambialet (now Music at Chateau D’AIX) in France; and operatic coaching and conducting at the Accademia Europea Dell’ Opera (AEDO) program in Lucca, Italy. His primary piano instructors have included, Robert Jordan, Dr. Paul Tardif, Paul Roberts, Brian Preston, and Mark Westcott. Additionally, James has studied conducting with Dr. Daniel Bara and Simone Luti; voice from Beverly Panten; and stringed instruments from Holly Meides.

Music is an artistic cornerstone that brings together math, history and art/imagery. It can be appreciated by many, but never be perfected. While performing, a musician must be able to simultaneously count beats, subdivide beats into duplets, triplets, quarters, quintuplets and beyond all within a steady pulse. Music highlights many cultures, many of our world’s biggest historical events, and continues to inspire stories, movies, dance, and social gatherings. Every student begins their musical training at different skill levels and varying abilities, and within any standard or curriculum there will always be varying results from one musician to the next. Some key ingredients to strong musical training include supportive instructors, supportive family, a disciplined practice routine, and much exposure to other musical artists. This combination will aid to produce endless musical possibilities. I am thrilled to be working with the Progressive Musicians team where I continue with the privilege of educating, encouraging, and rewarding musicians of all ages. ~ James Welch


James Welch is on the faculty for The SUNY at Fredonia School of Music as an instructor of class piano. He also serves on the faculty for the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, CO, as a collaborative pianist. In past years he has worked on the faculties for the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, and The New York State Summer School of the Arts Choral Program. He has performed for Peter Schickele, Renee Fleming, Lee Hoiby, Dawn Upshaw, Jake Heggie, Ian Clarke, Eric Ewazen, and Jason Robert Brown. Recent performance highlights include his debut at the Kitchener-Waterloo Music Society with the Antero Winds Quintet; his music directing debut with O’Connell & Company in Buffalo, NY; a premiere recording with euphoniumist, Erik Lundquist of a sonata from euphonium and piano by Neil Flory; a debut performance with violinist Kaden Culp in Weill Recital Hall in New York, NY; an album release titled Invisible Cities with soprano saxophonist, Jacob Swanson; the New York State premiere performance of Amanda Harberg’s sonata for clarinet and piano with clarinetist, Elizabeth Widzinski; and the Australian premiere of Timothy Brown’s Dreams Deferred at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. James holds a M.M. in Piano Performance from East Carolina University and a B.M. in Piano Performance and a Performer’s Certificate from The SUNY at Fredonia, with additional studies in piano at the Music at Ambialet summer piano festival in Ambialet, France; and in collaborative piano and opera at the Accademia Europea Dell’ Opera in Lucca, Italy. He was the second prize recipient of the 2007 Bradshaw and Bouno International Piano Competition.

Teaching Interests

Exercises and techniques that aid in the development of the fundamentals needed for rudimentary keyboard use in all the professional disciplines of music and the arts. Instrumental Repertoire, Vocal Repertoire, Opera, Musical Theater, Jazz, Rock, Pop music.

Research Interests

New and innovated beginning keyboard techniques. Studies from young adults that teach beginning keyboard technique and incorporate numeric and sequential analyses of exercises and physical movement. (This study is currently under trial/discovery and has yet to be titled) Theoretical Analyses and Historical Research of music, pertaining to the improved styling of practice and performance.

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