World Projects Faculty Member

James Bankhead

Dr. James M. Bankhead was the Music Department Head at Utah State University from July 1, 2011 until his retirement in 2015. He was previously Director or the School of Music at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas. Dr. Bankhead received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC; the Master of Arts degree is from Central Michigan University; and, the Bachelor of Music degree from Utah State University. Dr. Bankhead studied conducting with Herbert Blomstedt, Jon Robertson, John Paynter, and Jerold Ottley. He has conducted performances with many artists from all facets of the arts and entertainment worlds including Leona Mitchell, Robert Merrill and Sherril Milnes from the Metropolitan Opera; Victor Borge, Richard Carpenter, Barbara Mandrell, Peter Graves, and Roy Clark from the entertainment world to name a few. Concerts include “command performances” for The President and many world leaders. He has conducted in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries.

Before going to Sam Houston State in 2006, he was the Chair of the Music Department at California State University, Chico from 1994 to 2006. In addition to his administrative leadership, he was director of bands, master’s degree advisor and conductor of the Opera Workshop orchestra. He was principal guest conductor of the Shasta Symphony Orchestra in Redding, CA. Prior to his appointment at CSU, Chico, Dr. Bankhead was Executive Director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and Producer at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. He produced shows, concerts and festivals involving artists ranging from nationally renowned comedians and solo artists to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He is a frequent guest conductor and clinician at music events throughout the country.

Dr. Bankhead completed 22 years of military service in the Air Force retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He served as Commander/Conductor of the United States Air Force Band in Washington D.C. from1985 to 1991 and Deputy Commander/Assistant Conductor of that organization from 1976 to 1985. Prior to that he was Chief of Bands and Music for the Air Force Band stationed at the Pentagon.

He is a Past-President of the University Music Administrators of California and has served as a state representative for the College Band Directors National Association. He is a member of The American Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, the American Symphony Orchestra League, the International Jazz Educators Association, the California Music Educators Association and Music Educators National Conference.

Performance Tours

Music Festivals

New Music