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 Kate Dreyfuss (White Stone for violin and electronics), Pigeonwing Dance (Plexus: a work in knots for fixed media and seven dancers, with choreography by Gabrielle Lamb), and visual artist Mao Wei (Manual City, an installation for music boxes and projected images). Upcoming collaborations include a work for flute and electronics for Alex Sopp, a commission from the Ciompi Quartet, and a commission from Ensemble Illyrica for a new mixed chamber quartet. He has worked with ensembles such as Yarn/Wire, the Momenta Quartet, Ensemble Mise-En, F-PLUS, and the Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra. His work has been supported by the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Lois Roth Endowment, and the Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation.

James is currently in residence at the Royal Danish Academy of Music as a Fulbright Scholar, and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Music Composition at Duke University. He previously earned his Master of Music in Composition from Binghamton University.

scenes from a pigeon's wing. Composer. https://jamesbudinich.bandcamp.com/album/scenes-from-a-pigeons-wing (2021)


EP release - These four scenes are taken from my collaborations with Pigeonwing Dance, and its Artistic Director Gabrielle Lamb. Written as music for dance, these ambient, minimalistic compositions provide a subtle undercurrent to Lamb’s choreography.

At the core of these four tracks is the idea of borrowing – I use found objects as sound sources, and distort musical quotations through electronic processes to create new material.

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

Fulbright Scholarship awarded by Royal Danish Academy of Music (2021)

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)