James Lawrence Wirth, Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, October, 1954 into a musical and artistic family of my parents and two sisters. We sang and played anything from mountain and folk music to opera. Dad was a fine Tenor-Baritone and occasionally performed in staged productions such as 'Pirates of Penzance' and 'The Mikado.' He often would come home from work blasting 'Non Più Andrai.'
He loved singing in Italian, praising the language for its sing-ability and pure vowels. Mom had a fine clear soprano voice, and favored folk tunes, such as 'Wildwood Flower' and the hymns she learned from childhood. We would play through folk songbooks, I accompanying on guitar. Our record collection was widely eclectic, and that influence remains.
In 1964 I began guitar, learned to read and write music. I had 2 years lessons, which included reading classical and some jazz and pop theory. After this I taught myself, often buying sheet music such as Bach lute music arranged for guitar. I favored the contrapuntal pieces, such as preludes and fugues. I was able to play some intricate pieces in my teens. I began writing guitar pieces influenced by Bach and Jazz harmonies.
At age 18 I took orchestra class in high school and began playing String Bass. I earned my Degree from U. of L. I married wife, Mary, a flutist, in 1981. I also played with Louisville Orchestra and many other ensembles, and taught strings. I'm a multi-instrumentalist, performing and writing for guitars, bass, mandolin, lute, and all orchestral strings.
I've composed for groups from jazz band to orchestra. I began to write for guitar at age 12, preserving all the original scores. I just released a guitar album containing 12 pieces, written over a fifty year span. Ranging from solo classical and acoustic guitar, to tracks with keys, bass, drums, and other fun loving instruments! One is guitar with string quartet.
I've also written various pieces for vocal solo and choral groups, including songs with rhythm section accompaniment, and other accompaniments including piano, winds, plucked and bowed strings. I've worked with many professional and amateur singers, all fine quality. Presently I have been recording and producing many pieces for sale that have waited years for performance, now finally available!