Classical trumpeter, James Ackley, is an internationally acclaimed trumpet solo artist with numerous appearances that have included orchestras, wind ensembles and chamber groups in more than 30 countries. James has frequently performed as a recitalist throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. On a tour through Venezuela, critics described James as "one of the best trumpet players in the world." The Hartford Courante described him as, "a true artist”, the Free Times called him “one of the nation’s top trumpeters” and the American Record Guide proclaimed James as "absolutely amazing." James Ackley is currently under Leyend Music Agency Managemen as a concert soloist, chamber artist and clinician.
The first musician from his family, James received his training and his B.M. from the Baldwin- Wallace Conservatory of Music. He later continued his education, receiving a M.M. degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. His former teachers include Michael Sachs (principal trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra), James Darling (former member of the Cleveland Orchestra), Mary Squire (former principal trumpet with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra), Eugene Blee (former principal trumpet of the Cincinnati Symphony), and additional studies with Alan Siebert at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, David Zauder (former second trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra) and Perry Landmeyer (the Florida Orchestra). Currently, James is Professor of Trumpet at the University of South Carolina School of Music, after holding the position of Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut and principal trumpet of the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. Formerly principal trumpet and soloist of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, James has previously held positions as principal trumpet with other orchestras throughout México, the United States, and South America. He is former member of the award winning Bala Brass Quintet and frequently can be seen performing with the Charlotte Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and Florida Orchestra, among others.
James has had the opportunity to work with remarkable musicians such as Sir George Solti, Francisco Rettig, Enrique de Patron, Placido Domingo, Fito Paez, Eddie Martinez, Arturo Marquez, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein, Christoph Eschenbach, Louis Lane, Norihiko Nakahara, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, and JahJa Ling, among many others. He has collaborated with notable modern composers such as Karim Al-Zand (Concertino for Trumpet and Orchestra), Robert J. Bradshaw (Sonata for Trumpet & others), Cherilee Wadsworth-Walker (Suite for Unaccompanied Trumpet), Erik Morales (Concerto for Two Trumpets & Wind Ensemble) and Gordon Goodwin (Sonata for Trumpet and Piano). He performed Bradshaw's Sonataat the 2004 International Trumpet Guild Conference (also recorded on his Recital Music for Trumpet album) and premiered Al-Zand's Concertino at Carnegie Hall in New York. Ackley has appeared as a guest artist on the "Music for Everyone" program of the Bogotá Philharmonic and on several national television programs in the countries of the U.S., Colombia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, and China. He has recorded with several orchestras, most notably the Grammy Award winning Bogotá Philharmonic, as well as numerous television, radio and movie scores. James has frequently performed as a soloist and chamber musician at the International Trumpet Guild Conferences (2004-06, 2009-13) and has been an artist/judge at many other trumpet festivals such the Conferencia de la Asosiación de Trompetistas Colombianos, Guatemalan International Trumpet Festival, Concurso Internacional Los Hermanos de Trompeta(MX), Mississippi State Brass Day, Minnesota Trumpet Festival, Concurso Ciudad Consuegra(Spain), Isla Verde Brass Festival (Argentina) and the National Trumpet Festival(China), among others.
A winner of several Golden Globe Awards, his three solo recordings, New American Music for Trumpet (2012 Beauport Classics), Recital Music for Trumpet (2007 Claronade Records) and Lirico Latino: songs for trumpet (2008 MSR Classics) have all received critical acclaim, and as the founding member of the professional trumpet ensemble Tromba Mundi, he released their first CD (Tromba Mundi) under the MSR Classics label (2009). In 2010, James recorded Robert J. Bradshaw’s opera .Gabriel (2010 Beauport Classical), an opera about the dangers of withdrawing from society due to technology and networking. The trumpet plays the main character, Gabriel, “an enigmatic voice of hope, solitude and desperation.” The year 2013 saw the next installment of Bradshaw’s trumpet opera with Plastic: the death of beauty, where Grabriel makes another appearance. An additional recording of two trumpets and organ material was released in 2011, titled Eternal Source of Light Divine. The DVD recording featuring the ballet The Girl in White with the Ipswich Dance Company was released in 2013, a work he premiered at the 2012 ITG Conference with the Columbia Ballet Company. With theBala Brass Quintet, James recorded three CD’s: Revealed (2014), Deus ex Machina (2015), and Passports (2017), where his arranging skills are noticed throughout the recording. His book, A Systemmatic Approach to Flexibility (2012 Mountain Peak Music), has received great acclaim worldwide by some of the most recognized players/teachers of our time.
Ackley maintains an active performance and teaching schedule; he is a frequent guest clinician, recitalist and judge at festivals and trumpet camps around the world. He is often seen as a judge for the National Trumpet Competition (USA), since 2004, and has previously sat on the board of directors of the International Trumpet Guild (2007-2013). His musical arrangements and compositions, some of which he has recorded, are published under the editorial visage of Cimarron Music Press.
El Tiempo, Colombia
"It is true that James is among the best interpreters of the trumpet in the world today."