The American bass-Baritone, James C. Martin, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and his Master of Music from the Juilliard School, where he was also a Young Artist with the Juilliard Opera Center. He apprenticed with the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the San Francisco Opera's Merola program and Western Opera Theatre Tour, and L'Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, France, as one of seven international Les jeunes voix du Rhin. His awards include Juilliard's William Schuman prize, the SONY Elevated Standards award, IWU President's Award, a Lilly fellowship research grant, the Gluck Fellowship, and the Theodore Presser Award. He has received prizes and citations from London's Wigmore Hall, Joy in Singing, Opera Carolina, Belvedere and most recently the American Traditions Competitions in Savannah, Georgia, receiving the bronze medal/Gignilliat Award in 2012. He studied voice with David Nott (IWU), Cynthia Hoffmann (Juilliard) and Benita Valente. Other notable mentors and coaches include Steven Blier, Michael Barrett, Paul Sperry, Jon Humphrey, Luis Battllé, Barrington Coleman, John Crosby, Marilyn Horne, Evelyn Lear, Hermann Prey, Joan Sutherland, Reri Grist, George Shirley, Ernst Haefliger, Adele Addison, Edward Berkeley, Kenneth Merrill, Diane Richardson, Owen Burdick, and Broadway legend Barbara Cook.
James Martin has won critical acclaim for his performances in opera, musical theater, and concert as a versatile singer, actor, and entertainer. Always an audience favorite, his artistic repertoire spans from J.S. Bach to be-bop, Ferruccio Busoni to Burleigh, and Alban Bergto Leonard Bernstein. He has appeared with leading musical organizations throughout the USA and abroad, including the opera companies of Mississippi, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Fe, St. Louis, New York, Toronto, Strasbourg, Basel, and Oslo; the music festivals of Marlboro, Ravinia, Aspen, Moab, Colmar, and Tel Aviv; and concert appearances at the Concertgebouw, the Library of Congress, Washington National Cathedral, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium. He has had the privilege to be featured with many premiere arts organizations including New York's premiere contemporary performance ensemble Continuum, The Collegiate Chorale, the Summergarden series at MOMA, Joy in Singing, the American Composers Orchestra, Red: an orchestra, Meet the Composers, the New York Festival of Song, the Carnegie Hall Honor! Festival in conjunction with the NY Public Library; the Caramoor Music Festival; and Lincoln Center's African-American History festival and American Songbook series during the inaugural season of Jazz at Lincoln Center's residency at Frederick P. Rose Hall.
Operatic roles include Mozart's Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Puccini's Marcello in La bohème, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Betto in Gianni Schicchi, Escamillo & Le dancaire in Carmen, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Silvio in I Pagliacci, L'horloge Comtoise & Le chat noir in L'enfant et les sortileges, Noah in Noye's Fludde, Tarquinius & Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, and Pistola in Falstaff. As a recitalist, Martin enjoys a rich and varied repertoire ranging from the classic art song repertory, new modern and contemporary classics, and includes the Great American Songbook. Martin's professional roles in musical theatre include Bill Starbuck in 110 in the Shade, Quixote in Man of LaMancha, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Billy Crocker in Anything Goes, the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, Joe in Show Boat, and multiple cabaret performances including his own, original evening Sing.Out.Loud!. Oratorio and concert repertoire include, Copland's Old American Songs, George Frideric Handel's Messiah; J.S. Bach's Passions and cantatas; the requiems of Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Fauré, and Mozart; Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah; and Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Hodie, and Dona Nobis Pacem.
An advocate of new music, James has premiered and performed concert and operatic works by many recent and living composers including George Walker, Anthony Davis, Tania León, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Conrad Susa, Virgil Thomson, Ned Rorem, Stephen Paulus, Libby Larsen, Bright Sheng, Jonathon Sheffer, Lowell Liebermann, Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Pärt, Viktor Ullmann, Luigi Dallapiccola, Stefan Wolpé, Tristan Keuris, Bohuslav Martinu, Linda Catlin Smith, Stanley Walden, William Bradley Roberts, and Owen Burdick.
Performing highlights of this season (2011-2012) include appearances with the Moab Music Festival, Dreaming on Lenox Avenue benefitting the Aaron Copland House in New York, the role of Sharpless in MS Opera's new production of Madama Butterfly and 119 Underground cabaret series, Schubert's Die Winterreise with pianist Rachel Heard, G.F. Handel's rarely heard cantata Nel' Africane selve for the MS Academy of Ancient Music and Messiah for the MS Chorus. Martin also sings R. Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, his own original cabaret Sing.Out.Loud!, the Cole Porter Songbook, a Gilbert & Sullivan revue, and varied concert appearances, cabaret, and recitals in New Orleans, Alabama, Texas, Washington D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Idaho, Utah, and New York. Upcoming engagements include a holiday recital tour of spirituals for Copland House with pianist Michael Boriskin, an appearance with the New York Festival of Song, and his debut performance of Puccini's villainous Baron Scarpia for Mississippi Opera's new production of Tosca in its 2012-2013 Season.
In addition to a successful performance career James Martin is an accomplished teacher, coach, director, producer, facilitator, and arts education advocate. As a Teaching Artist he has toured classrooms and educational performance venues for The Metropolitan Opera Guild, New York City Opera, New York Festival of Song, Lyric Opera of Chicago's Opera in the Neighborhoods, and Mississippi Opera. He has served on voice faculty as Teaching Artist in Residence at Millsaps College since the fall of 2007 and is director/founder of the Lyric Performance Practicum. Throughout his career he has directed and produced productions of Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, Benjamin Britten's The Beggar's Opera, a concert version of Mozart's The Magic Flute, and is currently preparing Mozart's Cosi fan tutté for the Lyric Performance Practicum at Millsaps College this summer. In addition, he has served as director/facilitator for multiple operatic, musical theatre, and collaborative arts programs at Millsaps and around the country, including Juilliard's annual MLK program for many years during and after his student years. Martin serves as chair for the Millsaps Music Symposium which he began with 2011's weeklong Extravoixganza! The symposium's mission is to serve the Mi, Jackson, and greater Mississippi communities. Millsaps College Music Department unites area educational institutions with professional and local arts organizations, and individual artists in a week of master classes, performances, lectures and talkbacks in full cooperation and celebration of each other's gifts. By combining resources, the symposium is able to bring world-class, influential American artists to the benefit of Mississippi's economically challenged arts education system. Millsaps Music Symposium 2012 features guest artist/composer/conductor/and Renaissance man David Amram in a one week residency at Millsaps College.
James Martin serves as Music Director for the Summer Performing Arts Conservatory Camp (SPAAC) for St. Thomas Playhouse in Sun Valley, Idaho and will musical direct Fame for their Summer Theater Project this season. He is also a founding member of the New York Festival of Song Artists Council. He is the co-founder, Artistic Director of the Mississippi Vocal Arts Ensemble along with frequent collaborator and Administrative Director, Sarah Mabary, and members Maryann Kyle, Marc Foster, David O'Steen, and Theresa Sanchez. He has been Artist in Residence/voice faculty/artistic consultant for the Hattiesburg Concert Association's Meistersingers under founder Paul Lee, and the recently inaugurated FestivalSouth Young Artist Program under maestro Jay Dean. Additionally, he is a founding member of Mississippi Opera's Co-Opera for Education (MOCOE). As a church musician, James served in the Parish Choir of New York's Trinity Church, Wall Street during student years through the 9/11 attacks, and continues a close association with the Episcopal Church as an active member, soloist of St. Philip's Episcopal Church Parish Choir in Jackson, and artistic consultant for the Diocese of Mississippi. He is Voice Clinician for the annual Mississippi Conference on Church Music and Liturgy, Director/co-founder of the annual St. Philip's Mississippi Mardi Gras benefit, and a co-producer of Saving Grace for Grace House - a place for living, of which he is a proud member of the Board. Mr. Martin also serves in an advisory capacity with Wisdom Academy and Camp Wisdom, an afterschool and summer enrichment program for under-served public school children of Jackson.
For many years James Martin was the voice of The Juilliard School, providing voiceovers for WNYC and other constituents of the famed conservatory. Other interests include graphic design, creative writing, and composition. He has received national recognition as a collegiate editorial cartoonist, illustrator, and creative writer. He is currently working on recording, publishing a collection of his original songs, and an original musical entitled TimeOut.
James Martin can be heard on the Naxos and Albany record labels, and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), Delta Omicron (#O) professional Music fraternity, and the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education