Composer by character and performer by temperament, James Scott Balentine (Jim to those who know him) is as complex as his music; that is, moderately enigmatic yet engaging. Jim’s compositions are fun and interesting to play, intriguing to the listener, and crafted in a personal language influenced by ethnic dance, jazz and folk idioms, tonal as well as atonal and serial techniques.
His catalog includes music written for soloists and ensembles from many parts of the United States, Belgium, France, and the UK, all incorporating the personality, technique, and musical character of the performers in some way. Jim’s fondness for wordplay and poetry finds its way into many of his works as phonetic motifs, alliterative program notes, a poetic prologue, or formal musical structures designed around names, prosody, and other linguistic elements that infuse his music with a sense of theater, from dramatic to playful. He is the recipient of awards, commissions and grants from the Barlow Endowment, the American Music Center, the Krost Foundation, the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, Cactus Pear Music Festival, ASCAP, the Opera Guild of San Antonio, the College Band Director's National Association, Musical Offerings, King William Winds, Hemisphere Quartet, Trio Con Brio, Duo Con Fuoco, KUT-FM radio, Claribel Clarinet Choir, soloists Robert Walzel (clarinet), Matthew Dunne (guitar), Ron Wilkins (trombone), Richard Smith (piano), and Roger Steptoe (piano). His music is published by Cimarron Music, Hal Leonard (Southern Music), and Guildhian Music.