biography: James DeMars (b.1952)

Composer/conductor James DeMars belongs to a generation that is revealing a new integration of world music with the range, depth and stylistic variety of the classical tradition. His works include intercultural and traditional orchestral concertos for violin, piano, African drum ensemble, pow-wow singers, Native American flute, several cantatas, chamber music, a requiem mass and an opera.


Ensembles that perform DeMars' music include the New York Choral Society, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Utah Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Phoenix Symphony, California Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta,  Tucson Symphony, Anchorage Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony,  Choer et Orchestre Francais D'Oratorio (Paris), Wuppertal (Germany) Orchestra, St. Petersburg (Russia) Chamber Philharmonic, I Solisti di Zagreb (Croatia), Army Band of China (Beijing) and others. DeMars has received commissions including those from the NEA, the Heard Museum, Flynn Foundation, Art Renaissance Foundation, the Phoenix Symphony, Canyon Records, the European-American Foundation, the Phoenix Boys Choir, I Solisti di Zagreb, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.


As a conductor, DeMars' performances include the national premiere of his work, An American Requiem, at the Kennedy Center in Washington and nationally televised performances at Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. In 1998 he conducted the European premiere of the requiem in Paris at Église La Trinité with Choer et Orchestre Francais D'Oratorio and was inducted to the French Order of Arts and Letters.


With Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai he has created four CDs for Canyon Records. Two World Concerto received two Native American Music Awards and led to the 2008 release of DeMars' inter-cultural opera, GUADALUPE. In 2010 he received the Governor's Arizona Artist of the Year Award.


Aesthetic influences include the writings of Joseph Campbell and Albert Camus. He holds a doctorate from the University of Minnesota and currently teaches composition at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Requiem rehearsals, Paris 1996

Requiem rehearsals, Paris 1996