James Lavino was born in Philadelphia in 1973. He studied music at The Juilliard School in New York City, where he was a composition student of Behzad Ranjbaran. He later studied in London with Paul Patterson of the Royal Academy of Music.
His film/tv music includes scores for Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning HBO documentaries. He has written songs for Disney, and has twice collaborated with Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood. His music for the opening ceremony of the National 9/11 Museum in New York City was an integral part of President Obama’s museum-dedication speech.
Recent and upcoming film work includes Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog (starring Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn & Julie Delpy); Camille Thoman’s Never Here (starring Mireille Enos & Sam Shepard); and the HBO/BBC documentary Unlocking the Cage, directed by D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus.
Lavino's choral and concert music, some of which is published by Boosey & Hawkes, has been performed in England, Spain, France, Belgium, Romania, and throughout the USA, and has been recorded on the Hyperion, Delphian and Meridian labels.
In 2009, his choral piece "They have become bright stars", a commission for the choir of St Paul's Cathedral (UK), was premiered in the presence of the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke of York. Lavino's piece "Nativity", commissioned by Choir & Organ Magazine, was featured in the 2007 Classic FM Christmas Concert and was recorded by the choir of Westminster Abbey (James O'Donnell, cond.).
Lavino's choral music has also been featured on the BBC Radio 3 programme "The Choir". His setting of three poems by W.H. Auden, for Exmoor Singers of London, was premiered at London's Southbank Centre.
Lavino wrote songs for the groundbreaking Disney animated show "The Book of Pooh" and has also created music and sound effects for several advertising agencies and stage productions. He was Composer-in-Residence for the 2003 American Music Festival in Cluj, Romania, and has been the recipient of ACAPlus Awards, presented by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, for four years running.
Lavino holds a Master's degree in English from Yale University and was an Associate Editor of the esteemed literary magazine The Paris Review. He earned a BA at Boston University. Lavino lived in London from 2002-2010 and holds dual USA/UK citizenship.