Photo of James Barnes

James Barnes

Professor, Music Theory & Music Composition
Primary office:
785-864-4514
222 Murphy Hall

M.M. University of Kansas; B.M. University of Kansas

Professor James Barnes teaches music composition, orchestration, arranging and wind band history/repertoire courses at The University of Kansas. At KU, he served as Staff Arranger, Assistant, and later, Associate Director of Bands for twenty-seven years. Barnes served as Division Director for Music Theory and Composition for ten years. This spring, he will complete his fortieth year of teaching at KU.

His numerous publications for concert band and orchestra are extensively performed around the world. His works (including seven symphonies and three concertos) have been performed at such venues as Tanglewood, Boston Symphony Hall, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and Tokyo Metropolitan Concert Hall.

Barnes twice received the coveted American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award for outstanding contemporary wind band music. He has been the recipient of numerous ASCAP Awards for composers of serious music, the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service to Music Medal and the Bohumil Makovsky Award for Outstanding College Band Conductors. In 2009, Barnes was awarded the first annual

BMI Award for Excellence in Teaching Creativity from the Music Educators National Conference. The world-famous Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra has recorded three compact discs of his music. Over the years, Mr. Barnes has been commissioned to compose works for all five of the major American military bands in Washington, DC. A recent CD release by the United States Air Force Band features two different works by James Barnes: Dreamers, written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of powered flight by the Wright brothers and Wild Blue Yonder, commissioned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force. The U. S. Army band recently released a new recording of his Symphonic Requiem (Seventh Symphony), commissioned to commemor-ate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. One of his recent works, Escenas de los Aztecas, was the required work at the World Band Competition in Kerkerade, Netherlands during July 2013.

Mr. Barnes has traveled extensively as a guest composer, conductor and lecturer throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. He has guest conducted in Japan over 35 times. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Bandmasters Association and numerous other professional organizations and societies. 

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Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually