Noted lutenist, early music director, author, and educator James Tyler died suddenly on 23 November 2010 at age 70 in Los Angeles. He is survived by Joyce, his loving wife of 35 years.
As all of his many former students and colleagues concur, the loss is incalculable. Jim studied studied lute with Joseph Iadone in Hartford, Connecticut, and early music performance with Thomas Binkley in Munich. He spent his early career performing and recording with such groundbreaking period-instrument ensembles as the New York Pro Musica, Musica Reservata, the Consort of Musicke, and the Early Music Consort of London under David Munrow. He joined the Julian Bream Consort in 1975 and a year later founded the London Early Music Group. With these ensembles, he performed in chamber music series and festivals throughout Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia, made over sixty recordings and appeared on television broadcasts and in films. He is featured soloist on recordings with the English Concert, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and Max Morath’s Original Rag Quartet. He served as Professor of Music, Director of the Early Music Performance Program, and Director of the Thornton Baroque Sinfonia at the University of Southern California from 1986 to his retirement in 2006. He is the author of numerous publications on early instruments, their repertories and performing practices – including many articles in The New Grove and the journal Early Music as well as three books for Oxford University Press. His final publication, A Guide to Playing the Baroque Guitar, is being published by Indiana University Press in February 2011.
A short video tribute to Jim is available on YouTube.
A memorial program, “Remembering James Tyler,” was held on 22 March 2011 at the University of Southern California’s Alfred Newman Concert Hall. It included images, recordings, and video clips of things and events that Jim regarded as highlights of his multi-faceted career as a musician, director, arranger, author, and educator, as well as performances of a few of the pieces that he loved to play by some of his most prized former students, now professional musicians in the field of early music.