James Syler, M.M.

Assistant Professor of Practice, Composition, Music

James Syler, M.M.


James Syler was raised in New York and Florida and educated at Northern Illinois University (B.M.), the University of Miami (M.M.) and the University of Texas at Austin. He has studied privately with composers Alfred Reed, Karl Korte and Pulitzer-prizewinner Michael Colgrass. Mr. Syler has been on the adjunct faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio since 2001 and teaches private composition lessons, Contrapuntal Techniques, History of Jazz, History of Rock Music, Masterpieces of Music, American Roots Music and American Music and Culture. From 1998-2001 he was on the faculty at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida and from 1995-1998 at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.

Equally at ease with modern and traditional techniques, he has developed a personal style that is eclectic and able to sustain a sense of communication with diverse audiences. Major performances include the Turtle Island String Quartet, Houston Chamber Orchestra, New York Choral Festival, American Jazz Philharmonic, Artaria String Quartet of St. Paul, MN, Eastman Wind Ensemble, San Antonio Choral Society, Mendelssohn Club of Rockford, IL, Resounding Winds Sax Quartet, United States Marine Band, United States Air Force Band, and the United States Navy Band. International performances include the Sao Paulo State Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Brazil, Harmonie Laval Wind Orchestra and Chorus, Montreal, Vancouver Wind Orchestra, Canada, and more than 300 performances at universities and colleges.

Mr. Syler’s numerous awards include the 1993 National Band Association Composition Award for The Hound of Heaven, a Composer’s Grant from the American Composers Forum for String Quartet No. 1, multiple grants from the American Music Center in New York, the 1993 Arnald Gabriel Composition Award and numerous commissions. In 2001 he was the subject of a doctoral dissertation on his works for wind ensemble. In 2003 he was one of twelve composers featured in a new book entitled A Composer’s Insight: Thoughts, Analysis, and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band edited by Timothy Salzman and published by Meredith Music.

In 1998 he established Ballerbach Music a music publishing company specializing in wind band music. Mr. Syler also teaches composition at the University of the Incarnate Word and is on the music faculty of San Antonio College. He is married to pianist Elizabeth Gutierrez and resides in San Antonio, Texas.



  • MUS 3143 Orchestration
  • MUS 2142 Composition I
  • MUS 2623 Fundamentals of Mus for Non-Mus Maj
  • MUS 2633 American Roots Music
  • MUS 2673 History and Styles of Rock
  • MUS 2683 Masterpieces of Music
  • MUS 3162 Composition II
  • MUS 4142 Composition III
  • MUS 3613 American Music & Culture
  • MUS 2663 History & Styles of Jazz
  • MUS 4113 Contrapuntal Techniques


  • B.M. in Music, Northern Illinois University
  • M.M. in Music, University of Miami

Honors and Awards


Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials