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James Roland Holmes
(April 2, 1939 - January 7, 1999) U.S.A.

James Roland Holmes

Musician, composer


James Holmes was born to Roland and Lora Margaret Holmes. He attended Pittsburg High School. He also attended Pittsburg State University. His boyhood love of the piano and violin led him to the study of music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Holmes moved to New York City in 1967 to pursue a career in music. It was also at that time that Holmes met modern composer and author Dr. Ned Rorem.

Holmes served as business manager for Rorem, who was his lover for 32 years. Holmes was a musician for the Ice Capades for a season. In 1972, he gave a series of organ recitals. As an organist, Holmes began his career at the Church of the Intercesion in Washington Heights in Northern Manhattan, N.Y. He composed "Stabat Mater," an unaccompanied choral work, published by Boosey & Hawkes.

James Roland HolmesIt was in 1972 that Holmes launched a series of organ recitals that highlighted material from composers like Messiaen, Poulenc, and Satie. In 1973, he became organist and choir director at the Episcopal Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy at Manhattan, N.Y. He played there at every Sunday service until his illness prevented him from doing so. In September of 1998, he was honored with a plaque for his "25 years of devoted service" for his dedication to the Church.

Holmes died at his home as a result of his bout with cancer, survived by his longtime partner, composer Ned Rorem.

"He was a confident musician and an excellent choir director," said Father Jay Gordon of the Church of St. Matthew and St. Timothy. "I have worked with him for almost 30 years, at Intercession and St. Matthew and St. Timothy, and he was a very loyal friend and member of the church." Gordon added the Holmes was quick to come to the aid of younger members of the congregation. "He was a very Christian gentleman," he said, "who helped a number of young people here in the church."


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