James Lavino

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James Lavino
Born March 7, 1973
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

James Lavino (born March 7, 1973) is an American composer, known especially for his choral music and his music for film and television.

Life and career[edit]

Lavino was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, in 1973 and studied music at the Juilliard School in New York City, where he was a composition student of Behzad Ranjbaran. He later studied in London with Paul Patterson of the Royal Academy of Music.

Lavino's choral and concert music, some of which is published by Boosey & Hawkes, has been performed in England, Spain, France, Belgium, Romania, and locations across the USA. In 2009, his choral piece "They have become bright stars", a commission for the choir of St Paul's Cathedral (UK), was premiered in the presence of Charles, Prince of Wales; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Lavino's piece "Nativity," commissioned by Choir & Organ magazine, was featured in the 2007 Classic FM Christmas Concert, and has been recorded by the choir of Westminster Abbey (James O'Donnell, cond.) for the Hyperion label.[1] His recent setting of three poems by W.H. Auden, for Exmoor Singers of London, was premiered at London's Southbank Centre. Lavino's choral piece "An Exhortation of St Peter" was performed as part of the 2007 Tallis Festival and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.[2]

Lavino composed the music for Rebecca Cammisa's Oscar-nominated film God is the bigger Elvis,[3] the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning[4] HBO documentary film Which Way Home (from the producers of Juno)[5] and for Henry Singer's acclaimed BBC film Last Orders. He also scored Alex Karpovsky's Woodpecker and Sam Neave's Cry Funny Happy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The soundtrack to Woodpecker was performed by Lavino, Radiohead's Colin Greenwood, and Lee Sargent & Tyler Sargent, from the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.[6] Lavino also scored Matthew Galkin's award-winning HBO documentary I am an animal: the story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA and an eight-part documentary series for BBC television, called Sissinghurst.

Lavino wrote songs for the groundbreaking Disney animated show The Book of Pooh.

Lavino has been active as a choral singer since his childhood, when he was a treble in the choir of men and boys of St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia. Most recently, as a member of the BBC Symphony Chorus, he has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican Centre and many other venues, and has appeared on recordings on the Naxos and Chandos labels.

Lavino holds a Master’s degree in English from Yale University and was an Associate Editor of the esteemed literary magazine The Paris Review.

Lavino lived in London from 2002-2010 and holds dual USA/UK citizenship.[7]


Choral/Vocal Works[edit]

  • 2000: I will lift up mine eyes
  • 2001: The Star in the East
  • 2002: Save Me, O God
  • 2002: The Valley of Unrest
  • 2002: withdrawal
  • 2003: Peaceful was the night
  • 2004: An Exhortation of St Peter
  • 2004: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis
  • 2005: Turn, Beloved
  • 2006: The Eyes of the Lord
  • 2006: Do not go gentle into that good night
  • 2007: Holy Thursday
  • 2007: Their Lonely Betters
  • 2007: Nativity
  • 2008: Three Auden Settings
  • 2009: They have become bright stars
  • 2009: We meet not in sorrow
  • 2009: Before the paling of the stars
  • 2012: Beati quorum via


External links[edit]