The Choir of Saint James
is made up of amateur and professional adult musicians from the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Under the direction of Organist and Choirmaster James Buonemani, it is the first American choir to have sung in performance with the Choir of Westminster Abbey. The Choir of Saint James has been honored to serve three times as Westminster Abbey’s choir-in-residence during the months of August 1999, 2006, and 2010.
In addition to weekly services and monthly evensongs, the Choir of Saint James presents concerts featuring many of the great choral masterpieces with full orchestra. Under James Buonemani’s direction since 1995, significant works have included the Requiems of Maurice Duruflé, Gabriel Fauré, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giuseppe Verdi, Mass in G Minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams, the Lord Nelson Mass by Haydn, the Cantata Misericordium by Benjamin Britten, the 40-part motet Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis, the Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein and the Lux Aeterna of Los Angeles composer Morten Lauridsen, for which Buonemani realized the organ score.
began his musical career at age thirteen when he was appointed Assistant Organist to then Director of Music William Ferris at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester, New York. An early interest in composition won him first prize in a national competition for composers, sponsored by Baylor University, at age 15. Since then he has composed music exclusively for the church. His setting of the “Preces and Responses,” published by Paraclete Music, has been performed throughout the United States and in England and is fast becoming a staple of the Evensong repertoire. His Vis Aeternitatis, published by MusicaBellaLuna, has been released on the Raven Label, performed by the Choir of the Church of the Epiphany, Washington, D.C., and broadcast nationwide on NPR. A review of this work appearing in the Sept/Oct 2015 issue of the “American Record Guide” remarked on “Buonemani’s beautifully evocative setting...a welcome discovery.” His “Missa Miamiensis” was premiered at a Sesquicentennial Eucharist in 1994 at the Church of the Epiphany, Washington, D.C., with Presiding Bishop Edmond Lee Browning officiating, and has subsequently been performed throughout the United States.
He has performed as solo organist and/or conductor in such notable venues as the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and Saint Bartholomew’s Church (New York City), Grace Cathedral (San Francisco), First Congregational Church and the Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles) and in England at Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral, Saint George’s Chapel Windsor, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, Wells Cathedral and in Mexico City’s Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe and on Mexican National Television.
A summa cum laude graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the Westminster Choir College, James Buonemani has been Organist and Director of Music for Saint James Church, Los Angeles, California, since 1995.