School of Music

James Romig

James Romig, Ph.D.
Professor, Theory and Composition
Browne 209

James Romig, endeavors to create intricate musical compositions in which isomorphic designs exert influence on both small-scale iteration and large-scale structure, obscuring boundaries between content and form. Webs of overlapping systems generate multivalent sonic environments that invite listeners to become enmeshed in a dreamlike intermingling of past, present, and future. Critics have described his work as "rapturous, slow-moving beauty" (San Francisco Chronicle), "developing with the naturalness of breathing" (The New Yorker), and "profoundly meditative… haunting" (The Wire). His Still, for solo piano, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. The Complexity of Distance, composed in 2020 for electric guitarist Mike Scheidt (of the venerable doom metal band YOB), reached #8 on the Billboard classical crossover chart and inspired Seattle’s Holy Mountain Brewing to create a namesake beer in its honor. Romig is a two-time Copland House award recipient and has served as artist-in-residence at national parks including Everglades, Grand Canyon, and Petrified Forest. Guest composer presentations include visits to the Eastman School of Music, the Cincinnati Conservatory, SUNY Buffalo, the Clyfford Still Museum, and the American Academy in Rome. His scores are published by Parallax Music Press, and recordings have been released by New World Records, Sawyer Editions, A Wave Press, Relapse Records, and Perspectives of New Music. Romig’s music has been performed in 37 countries and 49 states by notable performers such as the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Hypercube, JACK, Talujon, NOISE, Louis Goldstein, Craig Hultgren, Taka Kigawa, Ashlee Mack, John McMurtery, Tony Oliver, Doug Perkins, Matt Sargent, and Harvey Sollberger. His primary teachers were Charles Wuorinen and Milton Babbitt, and he holds degrees from the University of Iowa (BM, MA) and Rutgers University (PhD). He has been on faculty at Western Illinois University since 2002, and in 2023 was elected to The Recording Academy (GRAMMY) as a voting member.