James Buonemani delivered . . .with consummate control and musicality.
— The Washington Post
Buonemani’s “Vis Aeternitatis” . . .A welcome discovery.
— American Record Guide
“Buonemani’s Preces and Responses are simply one of the most beautiful sets in my experience. Their melodic and harmonic grace cannot be overstated. Richly rewarding for singer and listener alike, these little gems provide a vehicle for communication on a deep and memorable level. Crafted by a real musician, these Responses will stay with you long after the service is over.”
— Todd Wilson
Head of the Organ Dept., Cleveland Institute of Music
Director of Music, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Cleveland
“Where has this music been? This is fabulous. What writing. It's just stunning… This is gorgeous music, perfectly reflecting the superb texts he has chosen. Having heard Buonemani’s music (I’m embarrassed to say, for the first time), I have already begun spreading the word: Here is a colleague who is a skillful practitioner of church music and who is writing fresh, interesting, engaging music that deserves to be heard.”
— William Bradley Roberts
Professor of Church Music
Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal) Alexandria, Va.
The big delight of the afternoon was the premier of Jim Buonemani's new work for choir and orchestra, "O Beauty Ever Ancient Ever New." This is a major, major addition to the choral repertoire. I'll run out of superlatives if I even start. . . take note, musical world: there is an important new composer in our midst. This piece is just so lush, gorgeous, moving (I wept). If you weren't there today, you missed out on something extraordinary.
— David Charles Walker
Composer of the tune “General Seminary” to George Herbert’s
words “King of glory King of peace” found in the Hymnal 1982
James Buonemani began his musical career at age thirteen when he was appointed Assistant Organist to then Director of Music William Ferris at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester, NY. An early interest in composition won him first prize in Baylor University’s National Composition Competition, at age 15. Since then he has composed music exclusively for the church. His setting of the Preces and Responses, published by Paraclete Music, has been performed throughout the US and in England and is fast becoming a staple of the Evensong repertoire. His Vis Aeternitatis, published by MusicaBellaLuna, has been released on the Raven Label performed by the Choir of the Church of the Epiphany, Jeremy Filsell, conductor and broadcast nationwide on NPR. A review of this work appearing in the Sept/Oct 2015 issue of the American Record Guide remarked on “Buonemani’s beautifully evocative setting… a welcome discovery.” His Missa Miamiensis was premiered at a Sesquicentennial Eucharist in 1994 at the Church of the Epiphany, Washington, DC, with Presiding Bishop Edmond Lee Browning, officiating, and has subsequently been performed throughout the United States.
He has performed as solo organist and/or conductor in such notable venues as the Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Bartholomew’s Church, and the Church of St. Paul the Apostle at Lincoln Center (New York), Grace Cathedral (San Francisco), First Congregational Church (Los Angeles) and in England at Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral, St. George’s Chapel Windsor, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, Wells Cathedral and in Mexico City’s Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe and on Mexican National Television. Mr. Buonemani collaborated with Los Angeles composer Morten Lauridsen in setting the organ version of Lux Aeterna and performed the world premiere with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in April, 1997 and helped inaugurate the Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ with a performance of the work in 2004. He can also be heard in the premiere recording of this version of the work, among other works, in a 1998 CD release with the Donald Brinegar Singers. His most recent recording on the GOTHIC label is entitled O Beauty Ever Ancient Ever New and features the Choir of St. James, Los Angeles, in works by Esenvalds, Gjeilo, Miškinis, Morales, Poulenc, Bairstow, Walton and Buonemani.
He has appeared before regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Directors Association, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Music Teachers National Association and the American Institute of Organ Builders.
He has guest conducted on several occasions the William Ferris Chorale of Chicago and the Chicago Choral Artists, and is in demand as a choral clinician and organ competition adjudicator.
A summa cum laude graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the Westminster Choir College, James Buonemani has been Organist & Director of Music for Saint James’ Church, Los Angeles, CA, since 1995. Now in its second decade of concerts, the church’s International Laureates Organ Series was founded by Buonemani in cooperation with the Ahmanson Foundation to provide the greater Los Angeles community the opportunity to hear world-class artists on the church’s magnificent pipe organ in seven free recitals annually. Under his direction, the Choir of Saint James’ has toured England three times and is preparing a tour of Ireland in July 2019.
In June of 2015, Mr. Buonemani conducted a choir of over 200 voices in Walt Disney Concert Hall marking the 150th anniversary of Episcopal Ministry in Southern California, at which time the Rt. Rev. Jon J. Bruno, Bishop Diocesan of Los Angeles, conferred on him the title Honorary Canon of the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, acknowledging his extraordinary contributions to the musical life of the Episcopal Church.