Late Works Now Available

Jim's latest CD is out on Albany Records. Listen now to one of the pieces or purchase from Albany Records.


James Bolle was born in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois in 1931. He received instrumental training on violin, viola and French horn and theory instruction from pupils of Nadia Boulanger and Hindemith. A student at Harvard, Antioch College, and Northwestern, his most important teacher was Darius Milhaud.

He was instrumental in founding numerous musical organizations, the first being The Chicago Youth Orchestra; at age 15, he led a group of teenagers in organizing the orchestra.

As a conductor, he has been based in New Hampshire, founding both the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra, which he directed for 29 years, and Monadnock Music, which he directed for 42 years. He has appeared as a guest conductor in the US, Canada, Israel, Hungary, Russia, and Germany.

He was responsible for important first performances (mostly unstaged) or first US performances of many operas including: Lully's Armide, Handel's Lotamo, Haydn's Armide, Schubert's Die Freunden von Salamanka, and Weber's Abu Hassan. He conducted the first complete American performances of Elliott Carter's Symphonia and many other works. He conducted the performance and recording of Virgil Thomson's Lord Byron.

As a composer, his major works include the opera Oleum Canis after the story by Ambrose Bierce, 5 Sinfonies for ensembles ranging from large orchestras to large chamber ensembles; 4 string quartets; concerti for piano, violin, oboe, and clarinet; orchestral works; songs; an evening-length vocal work for soprano and chamber orchestra "God Forbid that those who have sucked Bostonian Breasts should Thirst for American Blood" and a cantata for two sopranos and large ensemble on texts by Christopher Smart.

He died of complications from Parkinson's Disease in April 2019.