James Kimo Williams
Kimo Williams joined the Army Band Program in 1977, and after attending Officer Candidate School, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1980. In 1987, he resigned from active duty as a Captain to pursue music full-time. He completed his military service in the Army Reserves by becoming Bandmaster for the 85th Division Army Reserve Band, and retired from the Army Reserves as a Chief Warrant Officer in 1996.
Combining his military experience with music, Williams released his Vietnam-themed cathartic symphonic-rock-big-band album called War Stories in 1991, which received critical acclaim. His second album, Tracking, was released in November 2001, and featured his Berklee schoolmate Vinnie Colaiuta on drums (formerly with Sting), and actor/musician Gary Sinise (CSI: NY) on bass. He also co-founded the Lt. Dan Band with Sinise in 2003.
Williams wrote his first symphony, “Symphony For the Sons of Nam” (SFSON) in 1990. In 1994, his second symphony was commissioned by AT&T, titled “Fanfare For Life”. Williams has written a total of five string quartets, three symphonies, and composed the music for a Steppenwolf Theatre production of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1997. That same year he also directed the Goodman Theatre's production of the August Wilson play; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. In 1999, the West Point Military Academy commissioned him to compose music to commemorate their 2002 bicentennial. In 2003, he created the United States Vietnam Arts Program (USVAP) to provide art resources to wounded soldiers and VA medical Facilities.
Williams holds a composition degree from Berklee College of Music and an MA degree from Webster University. In 1999, the Lancaster (PA) Symphony Orchestra presented him with their Composer of the Year award for his contribution to American Music. He is also a 2007-2012 Fulbright Specialist providing lectures and workshops on Jazz Improvisation.
For more information: http://www.kimowilliams.com/
Photo credit: Kyle Aaron Lacy BA ’07