James May (b. 1994, Pittsburgh) creates music that focuses on texture, space, and theatrics. In addition to composing, he is an improvisor, experimental performer, conductor, founding member of AmiEnsemble, and contributing writer for icareifyoulisten.com. Recent projects and collaborations include a theatrical food–based improvisation with Molly Garvey, sound design for University College Cork’s final year production Goblin Market, and a series of extended improvised performances. His work has been performed and recorded by JACK Quartet, the San Francisco Choral Artists, Longleash, and the University of Louisville Orchestra and Collegiate Chorale.
James was the winner of the 2019 Seán Ó Riada Composition Contest for street after street alike, the San Francisco Choral Artists’ 2017 New Voices Project for The Garden (“arresting… intricate and intense” – San Francisco Classical Voice), and composed Zaira and Irene for the 2018 Huang Orchestra Commission from the University of Louisville. He has worked with Andrew Norman, John Godfrey, Eve Beglarian, Bent Sørensen, Karen Power, Ted Hearne, Anthony Cheung, Amy Williams, Jeff Weeter, Danny McCarthy, Robert Porco, and Andrea Vela.
James is one of 12 recipients of the 2018-19 George J. Mitchell Scholarship, funding an MA in Experimental Sound Practice at University College Cork. He previously studied with Steve Rouse and Kimcherie Lloyd as a Bomhard Fellow at the University of Louisville, and Jack Gallagher and Lisa Wong at The College of Wooster.