School of Music


James Caldwell

Dr. James Caldwell
Office Location: 216 Sallee Hall
Office Phone: (309) 298-1240
Title: Professor, Theory and Composition
Visit: New Music Festival

James Caldwell is a Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Western Illinois University. He joined the faculty in 1985. A native of Michigan, he earned a B.M. degree at Michigan State University and M.M. and D.Mus. at Northwestern University, studying composition with Alan Stout, M. William Karlins, David Liptak, Charles Ruggiero, and Thomas Christian David, and electronic and computer music with Stephen Syverud, Peter Gena, and Gary Kendall. For thirty years he has been co-director of the WIU New Music Festival, and curates ElectroAcoustic Music Macomb, an annual concert of electronic music at WIU.

A frequent collaborator with WIU performer colleagues, his compositional interests are divided between electronic music and music for acoustic instruments and voices. Recently he has been exploring and performing with alternative controllers for real-time computer music such as the iPad and the Wii Remote.

His music has been performed on concerts and recitals at the WIU New Music Festival, the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the US, Electronic Music Midwest, the International Computer Music Conference, New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Third Practice Festival, ÉuCuE Canadian Electroacoustic Community, the College Band Directors National Association, the National Trumpet Competition, the International Double Reed Society, the College Music Society, MENC/NACWAPI National Conference, the Radford University Center for Music Technology and New Horizons series, Goucher College Ars Viva, Contemporary Connections, Peoria Lunaire New Music Ensemble, EARFEST at SUNY Stony Brook, the Texas Christian University Festival of Contemporary Music, the VBDNA Symposium of New Music for Wind Ensemble, New Music DePaul, The Michigan State University Symposium of New Music, Northwestern University Contemporary Music, University of Illinois Funny Music and FUN Music.

His Elegy, recorded by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra was released on the MMC label. Mechanism II has been released on the Presence III CD from the Canadian Electroacoustic Community, and Hanging with Clifford is on the Bruce Briney CD Time Passages. Research in rhythmic theory, music technology, analysis, and aesthetics has been presented at meetings of the College Music Society and published in the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy and ex tempore.

He is active in leadership at WIU. He has been chair of the University Personnel Committee, and he was president of the WIU chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100, representing faculty and academic support professionals, in 1998–2000. In 2004 he began studying drawing, design, print making, and painting at WIU as a way to stretch creatively and to reacquaint himself with the experience of being a student. He earned a B.A. in Art in 2015.

In addition to three WIU Faculty Excellence Awards, in 2005 he was named Outstanding Teacher in the College of Fine Arts and Communication and received the first Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and most recently received the College award for Excellence in Creative/Performing Activity. As the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, he delivered the lecture “Musical Space and Musical Expression.”