James Lavino was born in Philadelphia.
His film/tv music includes scores for Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning HBO documentaries. He has written songs for Disney, and has collaborated with Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, and The Bad Plus's Dave King. His was commissioned to compose music for the opening ceremony of the National 9/11 Museum in New York City.
Recent and upcoming film work includes the HBO series Murder on Middle Beach, Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog (starring Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn & Julie Delpy), and the HBO/BBC documentary Unlocking the Cage, directed by D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus.
Lavino’s choral and concert music has been performed throughout Europe and the USA, and has been broadcast on NPR, the BBC, and Classic FM. Commissions include pieces for the choirs of Westminster Abbey; St Paul’s Cathedral (London); Merton College, Oxford; and Exmoor Singers of London.
His choral music (much of which is published by Boosey & Hawkes) has been recorded on the Hyperion, Delphian, and Meridian labels.
Lavino has been active as a choral singer since childhood. As a member of the BBC Symphony Chorus, he performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican Centre and other venues, and appeared on recordings on the Naxos and Chandos labels.
Lavino studied music at The Juilliard School in New York City, where he was a composition student of Behzad Ranjbaran. He also studied in London with Paul Patterson of the Royal Academy of Music.
Lavino holds a Master’s degree in English from Yale University and was an Associate Editor of The Paris Review. He earned a BA at Boston University.
Lavino lived in London from 2002-2010 and holds dual USA/UK citizenship.