JAMES AIKMAN (b 1959 )
James Aikman’s music has received prestigious honors for decades. Each piece evokes a particular musical image, with its own distinct, emotive effect. His music has variously been described as “richly sonorous,” “fascinating,” “plaintively beautiful,” “exciting, inventive and fresh.” He was born in Indianapolis, a city most popularly affiliated with auto racing (Indy 500), pharmaceuticals (Lilly) and The International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Yet Indy is also known for jazz greats including Wes Montgomery, Slide Hampton, J.J. Johnson, David Baker, Freddie Hubbard, and Steve Allee. Aikman credits early lessons with Allee in opening his musical thought. Aikman’s principal teachers include Michael Schelle at Butler University, Frederick Fox and Donald Erb at Indiana University, William Bolcom at the Aspen Music Festival, and Louis Andriessen through the Netherlands Royal Conservatory. Significant fellowships include those from The Indiana Arts Commission (Master Artist), Kate and Cole Porter, the US Fulbright Program, Aspen, and The Michigan Society of Fellows. He serves on faculty at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.