Instructor of Music - Piano/Music Theory
- Phone Number:
- Office Location:
- ARMC 106
James Poulsen teaches Music Theory, Aural Skills, Discovering Music, and Applied Piano for Simpson College. He also accompanies many student and faculty recitals. He has taught Discovering Music for Simpson Evening, Weekend, and Grad Program (EWG) for 21 years and has taught composition for Simpson and Grandview College.
Mr. Poulsen has had three orchestral works commissioned by the Des Moines Symphony. Heartland Poem was premiered by the Des Moines Symphony on October 25, 2008. The work was also performed at the Symphony’s Yankee Doodle Pops outdoor concert on July 2, 2009 for of an audience of over 100,000. Heartland Poem will be performed by the Dubuque Symphony on Nov. 10 & 11, 2012. His Five Poems of Edgar Allan Poe for tenor and orchestra was premiered in 1999. Poulsen’s Piano Concerto was premiered in February of 2002. The pianist was Joseph Kalichstein, the chamber music director for Lincoln Center in New York City.
In 2007 he composed a work for men’s chorus entitled ‘Men’, based on a poem by Archibald MacLeish. The piece was performed by the men of Phi Mu Alpha at a concert honoring the 90th anniversary of the Pi Chapter at Simpson College. Other recent works include musical settings of poetry of Jane Austen and Alfred Tennyson, plus settings of three Poe-related letters. His art songs are often performed by Simpson students and faculty. Seven of Poulsen’s art songs have been recorded for a CD with Simpson faculty member Dr. Kimberly Roberts. Poulsen’s works are published by Kenwood Press and LSS Publishing. He is currently working on a concert band version of his Heartland Poem, an opera based on the life of Poe, plus new art songs, ‘Famous Last Words’, and ‘A Civil War Letter.’
James Poulsenis also a freelance composer and songwriter, residing in Des Moines. He recently wrote and produced tracks for an Iowa State Marching Band video, Maid-Rite Corporation, Bang Bang Mongolian Grill, and Time to Spare. From 1990-2003 he wrote and produced music for hundreds of local and regional commercials and corporate videos for companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Pioneer, Maytag, Farm Bureau, The Principal, Prairie Meadows, Mercy and Methodist Hospitals, The Des Moines Register, Medicap, and Hy-Vee Food Stores. He produced and arranged music for conventions and sales meetings throughout the country for Disney Event Productions for such companies as Butler Manufacturing, Williams Communications, INACOM Computers, EMC/Mass., Liz Claiborne, Beneficial Finance, Lucent Technologies and The California Board of Tourism. Poulsen has scored a full-length horror film entitled “Devoured”, which was shown at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
Mr. Poulsen holds a B.A. in Piano from Buena Vista College and a M.M. in Piano from the University of South Dakota. He finished 3 years of doctoral studies in piano and composition at the University of Iowa. His piano teachers were Dennis Ondroceck, John Simms, Caio Pagano, and Arthur Greene. He studied composition with Stephen Yarbrough at USD plus Richard Hervig and world re-known avant-garde composer Kenneth Gaburo at the University of Iowa. One of his hobbies is playing piano for jazz gigs all over Iowa from solo, trio, and quartet gigs to ‘Big Bands,’ including The Ballyhoo Foxtrot Orchestra (which is led by Simpson music professor Dr. John Benoit),The John Morgan Orchestra, and the Steve Charlson Trio.
James Poulsenhas won 11 national Telly awards and 21 Iowa Addy awards for music in advertising. He won first prize in the 1985 Presbyterian Metro Ministries of Omaha Sacred Composition Contest with his choral work, Alleluia, Gloria, which was performed by the Simpson Choir in 2002. He has won Best Score at the Iowa Motion Picture Awards four times, most recently in 2005 for his score for “The Iowa Experience”, which is shown continuously at the Iowa Hall of Pride in Des Moines. James Poulsen is a member of ASCAP. In 2009 and 2010 he received ASCAPlus Awards in recognition of performances of his original compositions.