This past Monday, I had the pleasure of interviewing composer Jim Stephenson. I should say composer, arranger, conductor and trumpeter. Prior to becoming a full-time composer, Jim performed 17 seasons as a trumpeter with the Naples Philharmonic in Florida. As a composer, his recent commissions include a bass trombone concerto for Charles Vernon of the Chicago Symphony which will be premiered by the Chicago Symphony under the direction of Riccardo Muti during the 2018-2019 season. The St. Luis Symphony just premiered another concerto for bass trombone by Stephenson with soloist Gerry Pagano. We caught up with Jim while he was in the Washington, D.C. area for the recording of his 2nd Symphony for Concert Band, "Voices," by the President's Own United States Marine Band. This work was commissioned by that ensemble and premiered at the 2016 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.
Our interview covered many subjects, from Jim's start in music to how he had two amazing careers so far as a trumpeter and composer. We spent a great deal of time discussing his compositional process, time management, and what makes him say "wow" when he listens to an ensemble or soloist perform.
I left the interview feeling inspired and ready to go to work on my own projects, practicing and collaborations. While our full interview is in production, I wanted to share this clip, where Jim Stephenson discusses the motivation behind his 2nd Symphony. Immediately after that, I am posting the 3rd movement of the work, as performed by the "President's Own." Until the full interview is released, enjoy!