has written numerous works that frequently explore
An American Requiem (75') for chorus, soloists & orchestra:
"At the close of last night's premiere performance there could have been little doubt that James DeMars had met the standards of the death masses of Brahms and Britten; grand and spacious, stately, ethereal, glorious, inspired and quintessentially American, (it) speaks of untarnished dreams and naive yearnings; an intensely hopeful conjuration of all that is best about the nation's peoples." - Washington Post
Guadalupe (an opera in two acts)
"As the last notes faded I sat awestruck... this opera was a milestone in the history of contemporary music." Latino Perspectives
Tito's Say; a cantata for chorus, soloists & orchestra:for soloists, of poetry by Alberto Rios.
"Four poems of skewed love set to pleasant and chatty music." - New York Times
Native Drumming, two movements for the Black Lodge Pow-wow Singers & Orchestra
"...searingly honest, by turns mesmerizing, haunting, hair-raising and astonishing... just plain gorgeous in its sonics, with strings racing over the singer-drummers like a veil of night over the desert, and brass harmonies moving like sunlight across a mesa." - Arizona Republic
Two World Concerto, for Native American flutist, R. Carlos Nakai
"...on epic scale, sweepingly dramatic & rhythmically concise." - Los Angeles Times
"...compelling... an ode to the unspoiled beauty of Minnesota lakes, forests and wildlife." - Chicago Tribune
Sabar, Concerto for African Drums & Orchestra for Mark Sunketti
DeMars brings the orchestra into direct union with ritual music and dance from Senegal in a sonic travelogue, that was stunningly entertaining as well as culturally engaging." - Arizona Republic
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 orchestral concertos for violin, piano, African drum ensemble, pow-wow singers, Native American flute, several cantatas, 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, Choer et Orchestre Francais D'Oratorio (Paris), Wuppertal (Germany) Orchestra.
DeMars has received commissions 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 Eglise La Trinite 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 Arizona Artist of the Year Governor's 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.