James Clanton is the percussion instructor on the faculty of Pittsburg State University, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate percussion majors and non-majors, directs the PSU Pride of the Plains Drumline, and directs and conducts the PSU percussion ensemble.
As a performer, he has appeared with several orchestras, including the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Ballet Orchestra, Liberty Symphony, St. Joseph Symphony, Southeast Kansas Symphony, Springfield Symphony (MO), Kansas City Civic Orchestra, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and the Northland Symphony Orchestra of Kansas City, where he currently serves as principal timpanist. James regularly participates in several festivals and chamber ensembles across the United States, including the Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, Kansas, the Puccini Festival Orchestra in Kansas City, Missouri, the Mahlerfest Orchestra in Boulder, Colorado, the Fountain City Brass Band, the Chamber Music Society of Kansas City, and the Percussion Plus Project, an ensemble-in-residence at DePauw University.
As former member of Marimba Yajalón, and a current member of Marimba Sol de Chiapas, James has traveled internationally performing and lecturing about the traditional marimba music of Mexico and Guatemala, and educating audiences about the history and culture of the folkloric music of Mexico.
In addition to his duties teaching percussion at Pittsburg State University, he has been an adjudicator for high school and middle school students throughout Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma at regional and state festivals. He has also served as a clinician and faculty member at numerous high school marching band camps and festivals throughout the Midwest. An active member of the Percussive Arts Society, James recently hosted and presented at the 2008 Kansas Day of Percussion.
James received a Bachelor’s degree in music education from Oklahoma City University. He holds a Master’s degree in percussion performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where he is currently completing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in percussion performance. In the summer he is a faculty member of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. James is an educational endorser/clinician for Sabian and Pearl/Adams percussion