James Mobberly retired in summer 2016, as Curators' Professor of Music Composition, and is now Adjunct Professor. A winner of the prestigious Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellow, composer James Mobberley (b. 1954, Des Moines, IA) grew up in central Pennsylvania and spent his high school and college years in North Carolina. While earning a bachelor's degree in guitar he became interested in composition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his doctorate at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1982.
He began teaching composition and electronic music in 1981, with a year at the Cleveland Institute of Music, a year at Webster University in St. Louis, and since 1983 has been on the composition faculty of the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he was named Curators’ Professor of Music in 1999, and served as Interim Dean, 2008–2009. From 1991–1999 he served as the Kansas City Symphony's first Composer-in-Residence. This residency was expanded to include the State Ballet of Missouri and the Paseo Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts, the local arts magnet high school, through a grant from Meet the Composer's New Residencies program, 1994–97.
Other residencies include Composer-in-Residence for the newEar Ensemble (1999–2002), and guest residencies and workshops at the Taiwan National Symphony, the Wellesley College Composers Conference, the Ft. Smith Symphony, the Composers Forum of the East at Bennington College, and at more than 40 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. He has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rome Prize Fellowship, the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Composer's Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lee Ettelson Composers Award, as well as additional awards from the NEA, the 2001 Van Cliburn Composers Invitational, the 2003 Electronic Miniatures Competition (Spain), the International Composers Competition of the Polish Section - ISCM, the Music Teachers National Association, ASCAP, the Missouri Arts Council, the Midwest Composers Competition, the MidAmerica Arts Alliance, the University of Missouri, the Mrs. Ewing M. Kauffman Excellence in Teaching Award, and others.
Commissions have come from the Library of Congress/Serge Koussevitzky Foundation, the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition (twice), Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, the St. Louis Symphony Chamber Series, the Kansas City Symphony, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the SUNY-Stony Brook Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Missouri Music Teachers Association, Metro Theater St. Louis, and numerous individual performers. His music has been featured on more than two dozen recordings, including six works on the Music from SEAMUS series, as well as the Capstone, Gothic, Cambia and Centaur labels, and an all-Mobberley orchestral CD, performed by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, on Albany Records.
Mobberley's music spans many media, including orchestral and chamber music, music for film, video, theater, dance, and music that combines electronic and computer elements with live performance. Overall his music has received more than 1,200 performances on five continents.