- BM, University of North Carolina, 1976
- MM, Eastman School of Music, 1978
- Piano study with George Kiorpes, David Burge
- Collaborative study with Samuel Sanders, Charles Reiner
- Chamber music study with Luise Vosgerchian, Frank Glazer
James Howsmon has collaborated in more than 1,000 recitals in North America, Europe, and Japan. He has performed with principal players of every major American orchestra. In recent seasons, he has played in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. (at the Kennedy Center), Philadelphia, Dallas, Montreal, and Minneapolis.
Highlights of recent seasons include performances of Stravinsky’s Les Noces with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Boulez; an ongoing series of the complete Mozart sonatas for piano and violin with violinist Marilyn McDonald; and several performances of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin with the prominent basso Robert Holl. He is a frequent performer on Oberlin College’s stages, having recently played the Poulenc Aubade with the Oberlin Wind Ensemble and Olivier Messiaen’s Couleurs de la Cité Celeste with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble.
Howsmon is professor of instrumental accompanying at Oberlin, where he oversees the instrumental collaborative activities of the school’s 100 piano majors. He is also on the faculty of Credo, a summer chamber music program held at Oberlin College. From 1999 to 2006, Howsmon was on the piano faculty of the Brevard Music Center. He has given guest master classes in accompanying and chamber music at, among others, the Juilliard School, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Interlochen Arts Academy, Arizona State University, the University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Alabama.
He is married to violist Louise Zeitlin. They live in Oberlin.