James Ogburn is a US-born composer, conductor, theorist, and educator who began his musical career as a jazz and rock guitarist, primarily as a hobby. He pursued and completed degrees in Composition & Theory at Central Washington University (B.M.), and the University of Pittsburgh (M.A. & Ph.D.). Dr. Ogburn’s music has been featured at over a dozen festivals and on orchestral season programs throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Currently, he is Assistant Professor/ Coordinator of Theory and Composition at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, GA. He moved to Columbus in 2015 with his wife, the oboist Amy Galbraith Ogburn and their two children, Barry and Zoe.
James Ogburn studied composition with Matthew Rosenblum, Eric Moe, Amy Williams, Roger Zahab, Eric Flesher, Marek Choloniewski, Woijcek Widlak, David Asplin, and Mark Polishook. As a masterclass participant, he has worked with Derek Bermel, Robert Beaser, Betsy Jolas, Daron Hagen, Harold Meltzer, John Eaton, David Felder, Charles Wuorinen, Roger Reynolds, John Harbison, Paul Moravec, Christopher Theofanidis, David Maslanka, Eve Beglarian, Alan Shockley, and Karim Al-Zand.
Dr. Ogburn’s works have been recorded, performed, and publicly read throughout Europe, the U.S., and Asia by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Ensemble Mosaik, red fish blue fish percussion ensemble, IonSound Project, ALIA MUSICA Pittsburgh, Flux Quartet, the Ying Quartet, the Krakow Academy Quartet, and many more.
His music has been featured in national, regional, and international festivals, including World Saxophone Congress XVI, Beijing Modern Music Festival 2013, June in Buffalo 2007, ACO/Penn Presents New Music, the Inaugural Asian Double Reed Association Conference, the Thailand International Composition Festival, the Fifth Annual Thailand Brass and Percussion Festival, the 2004 SCI National Student Conference, the Krakow Academy SME Thirty Year Anniversary Gala, and the U3 Festival.
Dr. Ogburn has been commissioned by the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mahidol Wind Symphony, the Central Washington University Orchestra, Dave Eggar, Wendy Warner, Shyen Lee, the Old Pros Trombone Choir, Danny Keasler, ALIA MUSICA Pittsburgh, Ensemble Mosaik, and numerous other performers and ensembles.
Since 2005, Dr. Ogburn has taught over two dozen undergraduate and graduate course topics in music theory, analysis, aural skills, composition, ensembles, electro-acoustic music, orchestration, and counterpoint. His composition students have continued studies at several prominent universities, in various parts of the world, such as: the Royal Academy of Music (UK), the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (SG), the University of California Santa Cruz (US), and the Kunitachi College of Music (JP). His composition students have received awards from the Music Teachers National Association and have been selected as finalists for the 2016 IDRS Composition Competition, the Young Thai Artist Award (3 out of 4 years consecutively), finalist for the Goethe Institute – Young Composers of SE Asia Competition & Workshop, participation at the UMKC Composition Workshop, and a “Fulbright Young Scholars Fellowship.”
From 2005 – 2008 James was a Teaching Fellow/ Assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2009, he was the composition studio instructor for the Carnegie Mellon University Pre-College Program. From 2009-2015, Dr. Ogburn was Chair of Composition and Theory at the Mahidol University College of Music in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently, he teaches and coordinates the program in composition and theory at the Schwob School of Music, Columbus State University.
For his observations as a conductor, performer, and composer, James has adjudicated the Jean-Marie Londeix International Saxophone Competition IV, the 2013 Goethe Institute - Young Composers of SE Asia Competition & Workshop, the Thailand International Composition Competition, the Young Thai Artist Award (2010, 2011, & 2013), and the small ensembles class of the 2010 Thailand International Wind Ensemble Competition.
As an advocate for new opportunities for composers, he has created and/ or directed several projects including: the Young Thai Artist Award, the Mahidol Studio Prize (2013-15), and the IDRS 2016 Composition Competition.
As Assistant Conductor of the University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005-6), Assistant Conductor (and co-founder) of ALIA MUSICA Pittsburgh (2006-9), then creator and principal conductor of Enclave Ensemble (2009-2015) and the Mahidol University Contemporary Music Ensemble (2010-2012), James has spent more than a decade regularly performing contemporary music and standard repertoire. He has conducted world premieres by Nancy Galbraith, Houston Dunleavy, Roger Zahab, Gregory Van der Struik, Matthew Heap, Benjamin Harris, Erica Kudisch, and John Charles Durham, and regional premieres of works by Joan Tower, Zhou Long, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Zygmunt Krauze, Chen Yi, Eric Moe, Ivan Jimenez, Kerrith Livengood, Federico Garcia-De Castro, and numerous others.
As a guest conductor, he has performed at international festivals, including the eighth, ninth, and tenth Thailand International Composition Festivals (2012, 2013, & 2014), the 2011 Thailand Brass and Percussion Conference, the 2011 Yamaha-Tubamania Conference, the Inaugural Asian Double Reed Association Conference, and the 2016 International Double Reed Society Conference.
Established ensembles Dr. Ogburn has conducted in performance include the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, IonSound Project, the E-tan tuba quartet (feat. Steve Rosse and Matthew Van Emerick), the Old Pros Trombone Choir, the University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Central Washington University Orchestra, and the Central Washington University Chorale.
Dr. Ogburn has presented his dissertation, "Conflicting Lines, Cohesive Structures: Multiple-Directed Linearity in Witold Lutoslawski’s 3rd Symphony," at conferences in Pittsburgh and Fairfax, VA. He has also presented lectures - "Against the Anti-Kitsch," "Instinct and Control," and various topics on his compositional process - as a guest o Carnegie Mellon University, Hochschule für Musik- Lübeck (DE), Conservatorio Superior de Musica de las Islas Baleares (ES), University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern Florida, and Central Washington University.
In 2013-14, he published a series of six articles entitled "Composer's Corner," through Music Journal, the Journal of the Mahidol University College of Music. From 2011-2015, he was the principal researcher for the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, responsible for composing the English language programs for all regular season concerts during that time.
Currently, he is completing a book of etudes for composers, as well as sketching a book on musical form.
Dr. Ogburn has received grants from Columbus State University, Mahidol University College of Music, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the K. Leroy Irvis Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh College of Arts and Sciences, the Central Washington University College of Arts and Humanities, and the Ronald McNair Scholarship fund. In 2014 he was named as a finalist for the American Prize in Composition (professional, orchestral category) for his Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, “Singularity.” In 2015, he was awarded Third Prize in the same competition for his Concerto for Accordion & Orchestra. In the past, he was a finalist for the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society Commissioning Project, ALIA Musica Pittsburgh Composition Competition, and was selected as a participant at numerous festivals and conferences.