Pianist James W. Iman has distinguished himself as a specialist in music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He frequently performs music of the Second Viennese, Darmstadt, and New York Schools and is committed to diversity and representation in his programs. His appearances on WQED-FM, with Tuesday Musical Club, and on concert series at Shadyside Presbyterian and Chatham University have made him a fixture of Pittsburgh’s classical music scene.
James is counted among the few pianists who can “rise to the challenge of this music and meet it head on with conviction, musicality, and a supreme alertness to its myriad details and quirks” and as a performer he gives “a very clear sense of his total commitment to this music, and also how comfortable he feels in this repertoire” (crosseyedpianist.com).
2017 saw the release of his debut album, to favorable reviews, which includes the World Premiere Recording of Gilbert Amy’s labyrinthine Sonate pour Piano alongside Pierre Boulez’s Troisième Sonate, Arnold Schoenberg’s Drei Klavierstücke op.11, and Anton Webern’s Variationen für Klavier op.27.
Boulez scholar Peter O’Hagan has said of the album that “[the] performances are characterized throughout by a passionate sense of commitment to each of the works on the CD” and Andrea Bedetti of MusicVoice.com has said James’ recording of the Boulez sonata is among the “definitive versions.”
Forthcoming releases will include works by Alban Berg, Betsy Jolas, Morton Feldman, Klaus Huber, as well as Claude Debussy, Donald Martino, and Jenny Beck.
Mr. Iman has given World Premieres of works by Charlie Wilmoth, David Dies, and Everette Minchew and United States Premieres of works by Gilbert Amy, Alwynne Pritchard, and Raphaël Languillat. In April of 2017 James gave the World Premiere of “People,” a concert-length work he commissioned from composer Lowell Fuchs.
In addition to his activities as a performer, James is active as a lecturer and clinician. He is a frequent guest lecturer on contemporary music at Shenandoah Conservatory, and has been a resident at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and at Grand Valley State University giving master classes for pianists and clinics with composition students.
James is co-founder of (co)ordinal with fellow pianist Christin Cooper. The duo launched their first season of music since 1900 for piano four-hands and two pianos in October of 2018. He is also co-founder of Apsis with cellist Alicia Storin, with plans to launch their first season post-pandemic.
A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Music, Mr. Iman holds an MA in Piano Performance and a BA in Music History and Piano Performance from the university. While at IUP he studied piano with Judith Radell and James Staples. In 2015 James worked with Steve Drury as a fellow at New England Conservatory’s Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice.
"[His] performances are characterized throughout by a passionate sense of commitment [...]"
- Peter O'Hagan