(September 16, 2014)

Alumnus delivers presentation on successful musical career, creative process

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary alumnus and professional composer James Eakin '00 will be on campus this Friday, September 19, at 4 p.m. in the Anderson Auditorium of the Hurley School of Music. Eakin will be speaking with music students and guests about his career and creative process. The program is free and open to the public.

James Eakin
James Eakin '00 will be on campus this Friday

What: James Eakin '00 presentation about musical career and creative process
Where: Anderson Auditorium, Hurley School of Music, Centenary campus
When: Friday, September 19, at 4 p.m.

Eakin is in Shreveport for the world premiere of his orchestral piece Cloud Scrapers, which will be performed Saturday, September 20 by the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.

Eakin was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. From an early age, he was drawn to his native blues and jazz as well as classical and film music, playing everything he heard by ear on the piano, as well as his own compositional musings. His inspiration to become a film/tv composer actually stemmed from his fascination with music in animation.

"The way the music accentuated various actions and moods while staying perfectly in sync intrigued me," said Eakin. "It was truly a supporting character."

During these early years, Eakin taught himself piano, guitar, saxophone, clarinet, and flute, all the while singing at every opportunity.

It was not until years later that James began formal music studies. He earned a Bachelor of Music from Centenary College in 2000, a Master of Music from Southern Methodist University in 2003, and received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Composition at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2007.

James Eakin

Eakin has had the privilege of studying with some of music's most prominent composers including John Corigliano, Jeff Rona, Jack Smalley, George Tsontakis, Bruce Broughton, Zhou Long, and Chen Yi.

He composed works for Maya Angelou's 80th Birthday celebration, the President's Christmas Gala at the White House, and the Aspen Music Festival to name a few. Eakin's hour-long Flowers over the Graves of War for chorus, soloists, and orchestra premiered to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall on February 20, 2012.

"I do not draw lines in the sand when it comes to music," said Eakin on his philosophy of composing. "I always say that I go from Mozart to Mumford & Sons in zero seconds flat. My goal as a composer is to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary music."

Eakin was inspired by nature to write Cloud Scraper. Each Christmas he and his wife drive from their home in Hollywood to see her parents in Marble Falls, Texas, and then on to Shreveport to visit with his family. Over the years they have remarked many times about the awesome beauty of nature and the vast changes of scenery during their cross country trips. One day while Eakin was contemplating these scenic drives, a melodic figure came to mind. At first he did nothing with it. However, when asked by Michael Butterman to write an orchestral composition for the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, Eakin remembered that earlier motif and decided to use it, turning it eventually into the principal theme of his new work.