James Pecore

A composer-performer based in Manhattan, James Pecore, 22, interweaves disparate traditions and theologies—both religious and queer, popular and avant-garde—throughout his work. He is the 2022 composer in residence with Inštitut .abeceda, a Slovenian ensemble for new music based in Ljubljana, and currently studies composition at Columbia University.

​“I will write music until the day I die,” says James, an enthusiast. His vocal career started at age 6 as a countertenor or “boy soprano,” an uncomfortable experience. Discomfort inspired his personal anthem, “Never be ashamed of who you are.”

He actively composes works for orchestra, jazz ensemble, chamber ensemble, chorus, opera, and musical theater. He wrote ("in between") about binaries in music – contemporary and medieval, tonic and dominant – and in life for the New York Youth Symphony under the direction of Michael Repper and Matteo Paoli, and The Little Merman for the New York Youth Symphony Wind Orchestra. He also created a percussion work, Mirror Neurons for the highScore Festival and a solo oboe piece,_ Placid Lake_, for soundScapes Festival, both in Italy. He was a recipient of the 2018 Robert Scandrett Memorial Award for his arrangement of The Battle of Jericho, and his commission, Wintergale for Oregon Symphony associate concertmaster Peter Frajola was dedicated to those who died in the West Coast fires that summer.

James says, “I can’t wait to work with more passionate, expressive performers to make something beautiful, rebellious, and unique.”

Listen to Knit Inside Me for solo harp written by James in 2020.