Baritone James C. 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 Bach to be-bop, Busoni to Burleigh, and Berg to Bernstein.
He has appeared with leading musical organizations throughout the United States 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; Copland House, 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/Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni/Don Giovanni and Papageno/Die Zauberflöte, Puccini’s Marcello/La bohème, Sharpless/Madama Butterfly, and Betto/Gianni Schicchi, Escamillo & Le dancaire/Carmen, Sam/Trouble in Tahiti, Silvio/I Pagliacci, L’horloge Comtoise & Le chat noir/L’enfant et les
sortileges, Noah/Noye’s Fludde, Tarquinius & Junius/The Rape of Lucretia, and Pistola/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/110 in the Shade, Quixote/Man of LaMancha, Billy Flynn/Chicago (Big Easy Award nomination), Billy Crocker/Anything Goes, the Pirate King/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, Handel’s Messiah; Bach’s Passions and cantatas; the requiems of Brahms, Fauré, and Mozart; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; and 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 Martinů, Linda Catlin Smith, Stanley Walden, William Bradley Roberts, and Owen Burdick.
Mr. 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, GA, receiving the bronze medal/Gignilliat Award in 2012. He studied voice with David Nott (IWU), Cynthia Hoffmann (Juilliard) and Benita Valente.
In addition to a successful performance career Mr. 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. James has served on voice faculty as Teaching Artist in Residence at Jackson State University and Millsaps College where he was director/founder of the Lyric Performance Practicum and chair/founder of the Millsaps Music Symposiums. In addition, he has served as director/facilitator for multiple operatic, musical theatre, and collaborative arts programs at Millsaps College, Delta State, and around the country, including Juilliard’s annual MLK program for many years during and after his student years. Mr. Martin’s students have been accepted to major conservatories and prestigious voice, opera, and musical theatre programs in the US and abroad.
Mr. Martin serves as Music Director for the Summer Theatre Project and Summer Performing Arts Conservatory Camp (SPACC) for St. Thomas Playhouse in Sun Valley, Idaho. 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. He has been Artist in Residence/voice faculty/artistic consultant for the Hattiesburg Concert Association’s Meistersingers and FestivalSouth Young Artist Program.
As a church musician, James served in the Trinity Choir of NY’s Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, during his student years through the 9/11 attacks, and continues a close association with the Episcopal Church as an active member, and artistic consultant for the Diocese of Mississippi. He has been Voice Clinician for the annual Mississippi Conference on Church Music and Liturgy and a co-producer of Saving Grace for Grace House: a place for living, of which he is a proud member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Martin currently serves as Minister of Music for Wells Memoial Methodist Church in Jackson, MS.
For many years James 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, editing and publishing a volume of songs for William Grant Still Music, and an original musical entitled TimeOut.
James Martin can be heard on the Copland House Blend, 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 (ΔO) professional Music fraternity, and the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE).
EDUCATION & HONORS
The Juilliard School
Master of Music, voice 1995
Juilliard Opera Center
Young Artist, 1995-1997
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bachelor of Music, voice1992
minor in oboe
Marlboro Music Festival & School
Aspen Music Festival and School
Vocal Fellowship 1995
Opera Theater Center 1994
AIMS Music Festival 1992
Education for Ministry
The University of the South
4 year continuing education program facilitated in Jackson, MS
Safeguarding God's Children
Sexual Abuse Prevention Training
New York, NY (1992-1997)
William Schuman Award for excellence & leadership in music
SONY Elevated Standards Fellowship
Philo Higley Scholarship
Irene Diamond Scholarship
Theodore Presser Award
Bloomington, IL (1988-92)
Marlboro, VT (1999 – 2002)
Chicago, IL (1997)
Steans Institute for Young Artists
Vocal Chamber Music
Ibn Salaam, The Song of Majnun (premiere)
Jackson, MS 2012
Sun Valley, ID
Facilitators The Reverend Ken Brannon and Sara Gorby
French – Conversational (Private instruction during apprenticeship, Colmar, FRANCE)
German – Conversational (Summer Intensive, AIMS in Graz, AUSTRIA)
Italian – Conversational (2 Years, Juilliard Opera Center)
Spanish – Conversational (4 years, High School) Russian – Basic (1 semester, IWU)
IPA – Highly Skilled/Professional (Lilly Research Grant Assistant to Dr. Robert Donalson (IWU),
French/Italian/German/English, Thomas Grubb (Juilliard)/Corradina Caporello (Juilliard)/Sammy
Scifres (IWU)/Kathryn LaBouff (Juilliard) respectively, additional instruction in Russian and
Spanish,Portuguese by Gina Levinson and Nico Castel, respectively (Juilliard)
Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Folk, Ballroom – Jean Kerr (IWU)
Private instruction – Dr. John Ficca, Nancy Loitz, Dr. Jared Brown (IWU)
NYFOS Artists Council
Member, American Guild of Musical Artists
Member, National Association of Teachers of Singing
Member, Music Teachers National Association