Lewis-Lionti Sonata Concert 2019
Monday, January 14, 2019, 7:00 pm
Open to everyone, no admission charge
Hankin Academic Arts Building, Westchester Community College
The Westchester Youth Symphony
VINCENT J. LIONTI, Conductor
Honoring GWYOA Alumnus
Bio – 11/12/2018
James Sampliner is a graduate of Indiana University’s prestigious School of Music with a degree in Percussion Performance. While at Indiana, he had the priveledge to be able to study jazz piano with David Baker, and also learned his skills in orchestrating, conducting and arranging there as well. Mr. Sampliner is a highly regarded music director, orchestrator, arranger and composer in the New York theatrical community and beyond. His first high profile job was as the music director of the prestigious Williamstown Theater Festival’s late night cabaret series. He then became the music director of the festival, during which time he conducted productions of Tonight at 8:30, Where’s Charley? and The Threepenny Opera. His major theatrical debut in New York was as a keyboardist for Radiant Baby at the Public Theater, where he met his now collaborator and writing partner, Tony-award winning actor Billy Porter. Soon afterwards, he became the arranger and associate conductor of his first Broadway show, Never Gonna Dance, where he also made his Broadway conducting debut. He has since worked as music director or associate music director for six Broadway shows: BKLYN: The Musical, The Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde (which he also was an arranger) Honeymoon In Vegas and Prince Of Broadway. Most recently, Mr. Sampliner had the honor of conducting and playing piano for the very first official revival of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World. The recording of this new cast will be released in late 2018 on Sh-K-Boom records. In 2008/2009, Mr. Sampliner was privileged to have supervised the West End production of Legally Blonde in London as well as the 1st National Tour in the United States and the Australian production in 2010. Other NYC work includes a one-night only presentation of the music from Bombshell, the “fake” musical about Marilyn Monroe featured in the TV show “SMASH” (music by Marc Shaiman, Lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman) where James served as primary pianist and Associate Music Director. Off-Broadway, he music directed a new musical entitled Himself And Nora about the love affair between James Joyce and his wife. Other Off-Broadway shows he has worked on include The Mistress Cycle and Ghetto Superstar. Mr. Sampliner also has worked on new musicals at the following Regional Theaters over the last 20 years: Williamstown, LaJolla Playhouse, McCarter Theater, Westport Country Playhouse, Philadelphia Theatre Group, Long Wharf Theater, American Conservatory Theater, TheatreWorks Palo Alto, Alliance Theater, Two River Theater, Barrington Stage, Papermill Playhouse, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma and the Sundance festival.
His collaborations with Billy Porter are numerous including an African-American revue of Stephen Sondheim’s music entitled Being Alive that has had two productions in Westport and Philadelphia. The two then worked on an all African-American revue of Richard Rodgers’ material entitled The Soul Of Rodgers for the Reprise Theater Company in Los Angeles. Other collaborations include Billy’s solo Off-Broadway hit Ghetto Superstar, their two CD’s (At The Corner Of Broadway And Soul and Billy’s Back On Broadway), a production of George Wolfe’s The Colored Museum at the Huntington Theater in Boston, and music written for Billy’s first play as an author, entitled While I Yet Live for Primary Stages. They also premiered many of their arrangements at The Boston Pops in the Spring of 2014. The two have also taped a special for PBS entitled Billy Porter: Broadway + Soul that was aired in the US in April of 2015. The new album they collaborated on, Billy Porter Presents The Soul Of Richard Rodgers (which contains collaborations with Deborah Cox, Ledisi, India.Arie, Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Patina Miller, Brandon Victor Dixon, Josh Henry, Chris Jackson, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Todrick Hall and Pentatonix) was released by Sony Masterworks on April 14, 2017.
Other collaborations as either Music Director, Arranger, Orchestrator or Producer include Tony Award-winning actors Audra McDonald, Leslie Odom Jr., Patina Miller (Patina Miller: Live at Lincoln Center for PBS - 2014) Chuck Cooper, Annaleigh Ashford, Norm Lewis, Sara Ramirez and Lilias White, Grammy-award nominated artist Ledisi, pop artist Jojo, Rumer Willis, as well as theater luminaries Rob McClure, Tracie Thoms, Shoshana Bean, Eden Espinosa, Laura Benanti, Will Swenson, James Naughton, Karen Ziemba, Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, Carol Woods, David Garrison, Len Cariou, Lea DeLaria, Debra Monk, Laurie Beechman, Adriane Lenox, Shayna Steele, and many many more.
His most recent collaborations are with Emmy-nominated actor Tituss Burgess. The two are working on a new musical (as music supervisor and orchestrator), a new album (as producer/co-writer/programmer) and a live concert act (as MD/keyboardist).
He has also been busy re-arranging and editing the entire score of Rodgers & Hart’s Pal Joey with veteran writer/director Richard LaGravenese and actor/director Tony Goldwyn. A lab presentation happened in the fall of 2016 with great reaction and an anticipated production sometime in the future.
You can hear his work on the cast albums of BKLYN, The Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde & Honeymoon In Vegas, Prince Of Broadway, Billy Porter’s At The Corner Of Broadway & Soul, Billy’s Back On Broadway & Billy Porter presents The Soul Of Richard Rodgers; “Julie Reiber - Love Travels”, and “The Broadway Boys – Hark!”