James Adams is the director of Sound Recording Technology at SFA. He teaches many courses in undergraduate and graduate SRT programs and is the director of the Contemporary Music Ensemble. Prior to his role at SFA, Adams lived and worked in Los Angeles, California, where he was a technical producer and engineer for Incite, a design and production company.
While working as a producer and engineer at Incite, Adams contributed to the design of MAUD — a large synthesizer which has been featured at several installations and performances throughout Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Since joining SFA in 2016, Adams continued to work with several companies to produce music experience installations for major music festivals such as the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and Orlando. From 2010 to 2013, while attending Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, he was an audio engineer at the C. Crane Company where he co-founded their specialized audio division Center Point Audio and the Senta product brand, contributing to the design and production of several successful audio products.
Adams studied music technology at the University of Akon in Ohio, where he earned his Master of Music and held a graduate teaching assistant position under professor Douglas Hicks. While at UA, Adams also studied electronic and electro-acoustic composition under Drs. Resanovic, Brownlow and McCarthy.
Adams completed his Bachelor of Music at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where he studied composition, piano, guitar and vocals. Prior to his formal music education, he received a certificate in computer electronics technologies from College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California.
As a professional musician, Adams was the lead guitarist and vocalist for a West Coast rock group named The Malone from 2006 to 2011, which created over 60 original compositions, had several live radio broadcast performances and performed frequently throughout northern California.
Special areas of interest for Adams, in addition to music technology, include the evolving field of music cognition's study of the relationship between music and the brain, new spatial audio mixing formats such as Dolby Atmos, Audio Over IP (AOIP) technologies, music composition and sound as reinforcement for plot and themes in video games, and opportunities for using interactive visual media in live music performances.
He is currently serving as an academic advisor on The National Association of Music Merchants GenNext advisory committee.
Dr. Stephen Lias
The music of adventurer-composer Dr. Stephen Lias is regularly performed in concert and recital throughout the United States and abroad by soloists and ensembles including the Arianna Quartet, the Anchorage Symphony, the Oasis Quartet, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, the Ensamble de Trompetas Simón Bolívar, the Boulder Philharmonic and the Russian String Orchestra. His music is published by Alias Press and distributed worldwide exclusively by Theodore Presser. His pieces are regularly featured at major national and international conferences including the International Trumpet Guild, the North American Saxophone Alliance and the International Society for Contemporary Music World Music Days. Lias served for eleven years as Composer in Residence and Music Director at the Texas Shakespeare Festival.
His passion for wilderness and outdoor pursuits has led to a sizable series of works about the national parks of the United States. Lias has served as artist-in-residence at Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Denali, Glacier Bay, Bering Land Bridge and Gates of the Arctic National Parks, and has written over a dozen park-related pieces that have been performed in such far-flung places as Colorado, New Hampshire, Texas, Alaska, Sydney and Taiwan. In 2017, his "All the Songs that Nature Sings" was commissioned by the Boulder Philharmonic with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and performed at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Lias is the creator of The Composers Site (now operated by Vox Novus) and the founder and leader of the annual Composing in the Wilderness program offered by the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and Alaska Geographic.
Lias received degrees from Messiah College, SFA and Louisiana State University. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the College Music Society, the Society of Composers, Inc and the American Composers Forum, and is the Texas delegate to the International Society of Contemporary Music. He currently resides in Nacogdoches, where he is professor of composition at SFA. When not composing and teaching, Lias enjoys reading, backpacking, kayaking, skiing, travel and photography.
Dr. Ben Morris
Dr. Ben Morris is a Texas-based composer and jazz pianist whose music tells unconventional stories and crosses genre boundaries. He earned his bachelor's degree in music composition at University of Miami, master's degree at Rice University and his Doctor of Musical Arts in music composition at University of Colorado Boulder.
Morris's creative work and research is inspired by his Norwegian heritage. He lived in Oslo, Norway, on a Fulbright Grant composing a work for extended big band and video and received an American-Scandinavian Foundation Grant to research the influence of folk music on Norwegian jazz.
His debut album, "Pocket Guides," was released in June 2022 on Origin/OA2 Records and takes elements from Norwegian folk music, jazz and contemporary chamber music. The album garnered him two Downbeat Awards, an ASCAP Herb Alpert Award, a big band commission from New York Youth Symphony's First Music and an invitation to perform with his quintet at Newport Jazz Festival.
Also a versatile film, theatre and opera composer, Morris scored the documentary films "American River," which premiered at Montclair Film in 2021, and "Saving the Great Swamp: The Battle to Defeat the Jetport," which won best documentary at the 2017 New Jersey Film Festival.
A frequent collaborator with librettist Laura Fuentes, he premiered a 20-minute opera, "Las Auténticas," for the Washington National Opera American Opera Initiative, presented a multimedia opera, "The Fall of Man and Other Tales," at the ATLAS B2 Black Box and is currently working with Fuentes on commissions for Glimmerglass Opera and Art Song Colorado.
Morris seeks opportunities to write for unique ensembles that blur established genre expectations. He has worked with:
- American Composers Orchestra
- Aspen Contemporary Ensemble
- Jazz at Lincoln Center trombonist Vincent Gardner
- Unassisted fold
- NOW Ensemble
- Imani Winds
- Boulder Altitude Directive
- The Living Earth Show
- Playground Ensemble
- and the NDR Big Band.
He has been a composer fellow at music festivals and workshops including:
- Aspen Music Festival
- American Composers Orchestra Jazz Composers Institute
- Red Note Festival
- Sibelius Academy Creative Dialogue
- New Music on the Point
- International Gugak Workshop
- Source Song Festival
- and the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival.
His concert music has received accolades including an ASCAP Morton Gould Award and the International Society of Bassists Composition Contest Grand Prize.
Byron Reinhardt began his college education studying music composition at Lamar University in Beaumont. He continued his music composition studies at SFA, where he participated in both the jazz band and the SFA Symphony Orchestra.
Reinhardt worked extensively in live sound as a sound technician and consultant both locally and regionally. He provided sound for many top regional artist as well as numerous Grammy nominees and award winners.
Reinhardt and the sound recording services student team are responsible for the recording and archiving of all concerts and recitals on campus each term.
James Taylor earned both his Master of Fine Arts and his Bachelor of Music with an additional major in general business at SFA, where he studied music composition under Darrell Holt and Dr. Dan Beaty.
Taylor has been a recording engineer for over 30 years and had the great honor of being the head recording engineer on Willie Nelson's album, “Nacogdoches.”
In 2005, Taylor opened The Mixing Room Recording Studio, where he continues to produce and record projects. Before opening his own studio, Taylor also was a live sound engineer working with over 100 regional and national artists and bands. He worked with a variety of artists and musical styles including Vanilla Ice, Jerry Jeff Walker and The Outfield.
Taylor has been a professional composer of commercial music since 1994 when he started writing songs for the Muzak Environmental Channel. Many of his works are still being played on Muzak. Taylor continues to write and record songs for several music libraries which has resulted in multiple song placements on HGTV and the BBC.
Lance Treviño is an aficionado of films, video games and the music that accompanies them. His musical achievements can be heard worldwide in collaborations that cross borders and cultures, and some of his most notable work includes contributions to the:
- thrilling soundscapes of AMC's "The Walking Dead"
- vibrant battle music of the Japanese anime, "Beyblade Burst Evolution"
- post-apocalyptic score of Warner Brother's "Mortal Kombat Legends"
- and muscular hybrid orchestral sounds of Apple TV's "See."
A graduate of both SFA and the University of Southern California's Screen Scoring program, Treviño began his professional journey as a freelance composer and assistant in Los Angeles working on many high-profile projects, including assisting the inimitable composer Edward Shearmur on:
- "Diary of a Wimpy Kid IV" (Fox)
- "Escape at Dannemora" (Showtime)
- and "Cruel Intentions" (NBC).
There, he sharpened his skills in both recording and production while simultaneously working independently on games and many TV projects including:
- "Chef's Table" (Netflix)
- "Beyblade Burst Evolution" (Disney XD)
- "My Little Pony Equestria Girls" (Hasbro)
- "Blindspot" (PS4)
- "Kelipot" (Steam)
- "Secret Mystery of Comics" (History Channel)
- and "Hanazuki" (Hasbro).
A stalwart in the studio, Treviño's skills as a studio tech and team leader brought him to many of the most prolific recording studios across the nation, once even setting up a composition workstation in the piano booth of Ocean Way Nashville for Ben Stiller's brooding drama, "Escape at Dannemora." Following that session, he was the recipient of a gracious dinner toast by both Shearmur and Stiller which serendipitously began the next stage in his career.
In the months following, his talent and patience would pay off, and he was brought on as part of the contract composer team at Sparks and Shadows where he quickly ascended the ranks, contributing music to some of the biggest shows in television, including:
- "The Walking Dead" (AMC)
- season 2 of "See" (Apple TV)
- and the first season of "Snowpiercer" (TNT).
In the midst of the 2020 pandemic, Lance joined up with his friend and colleague, Mason Lieberman '17, and contributed string arrangements to his official Cowboy Bebop charity single, "The Real Folk Blues," made in collaboration with Funimation, Sunrise, featuring special guest artists including Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts, Steve Blum, Substantial and countless others.
Following this monumental success, Treviño would contribute even more string arrangements to another Lieberman project, the Charity Fan Performance of "You Say Run" from My Hero Academia. Combined, these two projects generated thousands of dollars for charities and brought joy to millions.
Treviño continues to seek out work as an international composer in all genres, lending his expertise to various media projects, art installations, video games and broadcasts while maintaining a remote adjunct faculty position at SFA, teaching various courses to aspiring creators while maintaining his established career in professional audio.