(Photo Chris Brown)
In the beginning:
Jim began studying piano at age five and trombone at age ten. After attending Duquesne University and graduating from the Eastman School of Music, Jim toured extensively with the Woody Herman Band and with Chick Corea before deciding to settle down and make New York City his home.
Jim became New York's top-call freelance trombonist for film scores, records, and music for television and radio advertising: over the past thirty-years he has lent his special talent to more than four thousand recording sessions.
His trombone can be heard in collaboration with leading classical and popular artists and orchestras such as Yo-Yo Ma, Steely Dan, Eos, Concordia, St. Luke's Orchestra, André Previn, Paul Simon, Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Pink Floyd, and Frank Sinatra.
Jim has been called on to add his sound to feature film soundtracks including A League of Their Own, When Harry Met Sally, and Meet Joe Black; and on hit Broadway cast recordings City of Angels, Fosse and Victor/Victoria.
In 2003 Jim "re-premiered" the Nathaniel Shilkret: Trombone Concerto to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops Orchestra. This mid-twentieth century masterpiece, originally written for Tommy Dorsey, will be heard in its first totally accurate recording, along with Jim's own Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, on his up-coming new CD.
Jim Pugh is the only recipient of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Virtuoso Award for Tenor trombone, awarded after being voted Tenor Trombone MVP by the New York recording community for five years.
As a composer:
Jim's original music and arrangements can be heard on National Public Radio, in film scores, on "jingles", and on record. His composition, Lunch with Schrödinger's Cat, received a Lincoln Center premier in 1989 by Marin Alsop and the Concordia Chamber Orchestra. Jim premiered his Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra in May 1992 with the Williamsport Symphony. It received its New York premier in March 2000 with Joseph Alessi as soloist and Leonard Slatkin conducting the New York Philharmonic. A founding member of the Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble, several of Jim's compositions can be heard on their recent CD entitled The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble Plays The Music of James Pugh and Daniel Schnyder, available on the Signum label.
As an educator:
Jim is currently on faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the past he has taught at SUNY-Purchase College, the University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and at New York University. He appears frequently at schools throughout the country as a guest artist/clinician. Many of these clinics/concerts are made possible through the help of the Edwards Instrument Co.
In the field of instrument development:
Jim still was intimately involved in the development of the Edwards
small bore trombones, He is
Professor of Trombone
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.