North American Saxophone Alliance
Artist's BiographyDr. James Romain serves as Associate Professor of Saxophone and Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Active regionally, nationally, and internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, clinician, and jazz/commercial performer, he embraces diverse genres of music. Dr. Romain actively contributes to the growing body of compositions and pedagogical literature for the instrument through his pursuit of commissions, recording projects, and published articles.
As an orchestral saxophonist, James Romain performs regularly with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Wyoming Symphony, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the Champaign-Urbana and U of I Orchestras.
At the 15th World Saxophone Congress, held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2009, Dr. Romain presented the Asian premiere of Eric McIntyre’s Secondary Impressions for Baritone Saxophone and Piano, and presented two works for jazz saxophone quartet as a member of The New Third Stream. In 2006, at the 14th World Saxophone Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia, he gave the European premieres of Mark Engebretson's SaxMax, and of Bill Dougherty's Howl. In July of 2003, Dr. Romain premiered a new sonata by Chinese composer Jian-Jun He at the 13th World Saxophone Congress, and recorded that work for a compact disc that was released in China.
In May of 2007, James Romain joined his Drake colleagues in Mexico City as Artist in Residence at the 1a Academia de Mùsica 2007. They presented daily master classes at the Escuela de Musica Vida Y Movimiento at the Centro Cultural Ollin Yoliztli, and participated in daily rehearsals at the Instituto de Humanidades Y Ciencias (INHUMYC).
Dr. Romain has appeared as a performer or clinician at Iowa Bandmaster’s Association, College Band Directors National Association North Central Division, and Texas Music Educator’s Association conferences.
James Romain is an active chamber musician. He is currently the baritone saxophonist with the Oasis Quartet, also featuring Dr. Nathan Nabb from Stephen F. Austin State University, Dr. James Bunte from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Dr. David Camwell from Simpson College. (www.oasisquartet.com)
As a jazz saxophonist, Romain is the lead alto saxophonist of the Des Moines Big Band, and the baritone saxophonist with the New Third Stream. He has also performed with Clark Terry, Ron Miles, Eric Gunnison, and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
Dr. Romain's artistic mission focuses on fostering the establishment of the saxophone as a medium of serious musical expression, and actively contributing to the establishment of a substantial body of serious music for the instrument, through individual commissioning of composers, consortium commission projects, and the presentation of these works to the public through recitals, concerto performances, and recording projects.
Commissions, Premieres, and Dedications:
• Mad Scene for saxophone quartet by Eric L. McIntyre (2010)
• Tallahatchie Concerto (saxophone and wind ensemble version) by Jacob ter Veldhuis (2009)
• The Rivers for solo alto saxophone and wind ensemble by John Fitz Rogers (2007)
• Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra by Lewis Spratlan (2007)
• SaxMax for soprano saxophone, computer, and computer operator by Dr. Mark Engebretson (2006)
• Howl for alto saxophone and tone generator by Dr. William Dougherty (2006)
• Contact (Asx/Pno) by James Matheson (2005)
• Not Yet (Asx/Pno) by Roscoe Mitchell (2004)
• Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Jianjun He (2003)
Saxophone Journal Vol. 34/No 3 (Jan/Feb 2010): "James Romain is a superb performer on saxophone with a bright, clear, and resonant sound that is not often heard. His articulation is crisp and uncluttered with every single note occupying its own space in time. His use of vibrato is excellent, while always remaining an enhancement to the sound, rather than trying to dominate the sound. His fingers are amazingly quick with blinding precision. His interpretive skills are the equal of his saxophone technique, giving the listener a rare treat of a consummate performer. Every aspect of his playing is to be greatly applauded." (Reviewed by Paul Wagner)
Saxophone Symposium 2009: "In Friendship is a terrifically played collection of some of the saxophones most important compositions and a must-have for classical saxophonists." (Reviewed by Steve Stusek)
American Record Guide, Nov/Dec 2008: "Both performers are excellent, winding their way through very difficult repertoire with great ease. Romain appears to be in complete control; his sound is beautifully sculpted and his technique is effortless. He is particularly skillful in the a cappella selection—Noda’s Maï and Stockhausen's In Friendship—where he jumps between registers without thought or trepidation. He also brings a wide dynamic range and appropriate phrasing to each piece; the Noda is often shocking on the ears, as it should be, and the Desenclos Prelude, Cadence et Finale and the Bonneau Caprice en Forme de Valse are rendered with perfect French grace and whimsy." HANUDEL
• Masterclass CD/Article Walter Hartley’s Sonata for Baritone Saxophone and Piano. Saxophone Journal vol. 34, no. 6 (July/August 2010).
• “A Lesson with James Romain.” Saxophone Journal vol. 34, no. 2 (November/December 2009): 32-35.
• Masterclass CD/Article Howl for Alto Saxophone and Sound Modules. Saxophone Journal vol. 32, no. 6 (July/August 2008): 54-64.
• “Processes of Expansion and Contraction in Mark Engebretson’s Energy Drink I for Solo Alto Saxophone.” The Saxophone Symposium, vol. 29 (2004): 73-112.
He was the first saxophonist to be awarded the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was a student of Professor Debra Richtmeyer. While at UIUC, he was awarded the Cooke Fellowship, served as teaching assistant for the saxophone studio, and won the woodwind concerto competition. At UIUC, Dr. Romain co-founded the Red Onion Saxophone Quartet, an ensemble that has taken prizes in regional North American Saxophone Alliance competitions and was awarded the silver medal at the 2001 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Dr. Romain holds prior degrees from the University of North Texas, where he was a teaching fellow and a student of Professor James Riggs.
James Romain is a Conn-Selmer Artist, and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris saxophones. As a Rico Artist, he also performs on Rico Reserve and Jazz Select Reeds. Dr. Romain serves as Membership Director for the North American Saxophone Alliance. (www.saxalliance.org)