James Lavino was born in Philadelphia in 1973.
Lavino’s film music includes scores for the Oscar-nominated God is the Bigger Elvis, the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning HBO documentary film Which Way Home and Henry Singer’s acclaimed BBC film Last Orders. His score for Alex Karpovsky’s film Woodpecker (“a stunning film soundtrack…warm…gorgeous.” The Guardian) features performances by Colin Greenwood of Radiohead, and Lee & Tyler Sargent of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Lavino’s work for television includes the recent eight-part series “Sissinghurst” for BBC television, and songs for the groundbreaking Disney animated show The Book of Pooh.
Current and upcoming film work includes Ryan McGarry’s ER doc Code Black (which won Best Doc at the 2013 LA Film Festival) and Peter Cousens’s period drama Carry My Home, starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
Lavino’s choral and concert music, some of which is published by Boosey & Hawkes, has been performed in England, Spain, France, Belgium, Romania, and locations across the USA. His 2009 choral piece “They have become bright stars”, a commission for the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral (London), was premiered in the presence of the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, and Duke of York.
Lavino’s piece “Nativity,” commissioned by Choir & Organ Magazine, was featured in the 2007 Classic FM Christmas Concert and was recorded by the choir of Westminster Abbey (James O’Donnell, conductor) on the Hyperion label. Lavino’s choral music has also been featured on the BBC Radio 3 programme “The Choir”, and his recent setting of three poems by W.H. Auden, for Exmoor Singers of London, was premiered at London’s Southbank Centre.
Other recent commissions include a motet for the choir of Merton College, Oxford; and a Christmas carol for the choir of Tewkesbury Abbey.
Lavino has been active as a choral singer since childhood. Most recently, as a member of the BBC Symphony Chorus, he performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican Centre and other venues, and appeared on recordings on the Naxos and Chandos labels.
Lavino studied music at The Juilliard School in New York City, where he was a composition student of Behzad Ranjbaran. He also studied in London with Paul Patterson of the Royal Academy of Music.
Lavino holds a Master’s degree in English from Yale University and was an Associate Editor of the esteemed literary magazine The Paris Review. He earned a BA at Boston University.
Lavino lived in London from 2002-2010 and holds dual USA/UK citizenship.