Primary Scene: New York
Composer and bassist James Ilgenfritz is recognized in the New Yorker for his “characteristic magnanimity” and his “invaluable contributions to New York’s new-music community.” His 2019 album You Scream A Rapid Language collects recent chamber works, and features Pauline Kim Harris, Conrad Harris, William Winant, Thomas Buckner, Kathleen Supové, Margaret Lancaster, and Joseph Kubera, and was noted in The Wire for its “glint of mischief” and ability to “foreground the performative and gestural elements of music making.”
James presented residencies at John Zorn’s The Stone in 2015 and 2017. In 2019 James performed in Anthony Braxton’s Composer Portrait concet at Columbia University’s Miller Theater (with Either/Or and the JACK Quartet), and premiered his second opera, I Looked At The Eclipse. Recent projects include his trio Hypercolor (released on John Zorn’s record label Tzadik with Lukas Ligeti & Eyal Maoz) and his recent solo CD Origami Cosmos (featuring works by Annie Gosfield, Miya Masaoka, Elliott Sharp, & JG Thirlwell). In June 2018 James presented his second residency at John Zorn’s venue The Stone, with premieres for the Momenta Quartet, flutist Margaret Lancaster, The New Thread Saxophone Quartet, and the Kathleen Supove/James Moore/Jennifer Choi trio, as well as solo bass works by John King, Anthony Donofrio, and Lucie Vitkova.
James has performed throughout the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland. James’s notable performances include work with composer/improvisers Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, Rufus Reid, Anthony Braxton, “Blue” Gene Tyranny, and many others. James has received grants from New Music USA and American Composers Forum. He holds degrees from University of Michigan and UCSD. James began New York’s first Suzuki Bass program at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in 2011, and continued there until 2019, when he left to pursue a PhD in music composition at University of California Irvine. James splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and southern California.