James Budinich

James Budinich composes music inspired by minimalism, Croatian folk traditions, and American popular music. He has written for orchestra, voice, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, and electronics.

He has collaborated with Lindsay Brown (Love’s Lost Words for mezzo-soprano, cello, and piano), Samuel Rolfe (By the Light of Day for solo flute), and Stacey Geyer (Separate Realities for soprano, viola, and fixed electronics). Recently he was commissioned to compose a new work for Ensemble Móbile; the resulting trio (Embrace for flute, violin, and guitar) was premiered in Brazil as part of their 2017-18 season. He has worked with ensembles such as the Momenta Quartet, Yarn/Wire, the Lontano Ensemble, and Roomful of Teeth.

James is currently studying towards his PhD in Composition at Duke University, and previously earned his Master of Music in Composition from Binghamton University.

Lines, Breaks, and White Spaces. Composer. https://soundcloud.com/james-budinich/sets/lines-breaks-and-white-spaces (2019)


Lines, Breaks, and White Spaces takes inspiration from those three ideas throughout the composition. Finding different ways to deal with these subjects in the four movements, musical lines explore different contours and patterns. Breaks between lines and the more abstract idea of “white space” find ways to intrude on the lines’ continuity, and fill out the textures.

Only Breath. Composer. Link to recording (2018)


Written for the Next Festival of Emerging Artists. For string orchestra, conducted by Peter Askim, recorded at Reservoir Studios, mixed by George Wellington.

Recording made possible through the generous support of Arts NC State, Rich Holly, Executive Director.

The Sea Called. Composer. Link to recording (2018)


Written for the Lorelei Ensemble

Evening, in the Open Air. Composer. Link to recording (2017)


For flute, clarinet, vibraphone, piano, violin, and cello; written for the 2017 Norfolk New Music Workshop.

Separate Realities. Composer. Link to recording (2016)


For soprano, viola, and fixed electronics; recorded by Stacey Geyer and Stephanie Griffin.

Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants

Fostering Community Participation in the Arts awarded by Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) (2018 to 2019)

Engaging Simplicity: Composition Studies with Ole Buck awarded by The American Scandinavian Foundation (2018)