James Barger is an active performer of solo and chamber music throughout the United States and is in demand as a classical and jazz saxophonist and educator. He joined the West Texas A&M University faculty as Assistant Professor of Saxophone in 2016 where he teaches applied lessons in classical saxophone and jazz improvisation, conducts the WTAMU Jazz Band II and Saxophone Ensemble, and leads weekly studio classes. Additionally, he serves as the faculty sponsor for the WTAMU Pep Band, affectionately known as “The Band in The Box”. Additionally, he teaches during the summer on the faculties of the WTAMU Band Camp, WTAMU Chamber Music Strings Camp, the Young Saxophonist’s Institute, and the Asia Pacific Saxophone Academy in Bangkok, Thailand. James' creative interests include effective practice strategies, music entrepreneurship, saxophone and woodwind pedagogy, and adaptation of new music for the saxophone and saxophone ensembles.
Passionate for chamber music, James is a founding member and the soprano saxophone chair in the nationally-acclaimed Mirasol Quartet. This group has performed throughout the country and has competed in several national competitions, including the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (Gold Medal Wind Division, 2015), Enkor Chamber Music Competition (Grand Prize, 2015-2016), Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition (3rd place national winners, 2014), the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition (Finalists, 2014), and the Coleman Chamber Competition. Additionally, Mirasol Quartet has performed and presented clinics at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference, North American Saxophone Alliance Regional Conference, Midwest Clinic, and the International Saxophone Symposium and frequently performs educational concerts as advocates of chamber music programs within the public school music curriculum.
James enjoys an active performance schedule as a concert and jazz saxophonist and as a woodwind doubler, having performed in the pit for local productions of Les Miserables, 9 to 5, Hairspray, The Full Monty, Brooklyn, Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, Legally Blonde, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Anything Goes, and others.
James holds degrees from Texas Tech University (DMA) and West Texas A&M University (MM and BM) and he is a proud performing artist and endorser of Selmer Paris saxophones and mouthpieces and D’Addario Reserve reeds.