James Sochinski (August 1947 – 10 January 2022, Blacksburg, Va.) was an American composer, educator, and musician.
Dr. Sochinski earned a BM from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a MM in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in music theory from the University of Miami.
Before coming to Virginia Tech in 1977, Dr. Sochinski was arranger for the United States Army Field Band, Washington D.C., and band director at South Carolina State University. At Virginia Tech, primarily taught music theory, including courses in analysis, orchestration and arranging, and music history and literature as a professor in the music department at Virginia Tech. He also taught colloquia in the University Honors College. Additionally, Sochinski was the second director of Virginia Tech's Marching Virginians from 1978 to 1981. "Uncle Jim", as he was affectionately called by the band members, then served as music director and arranger (and essentially assistant director) during the 1981-1989 and 1991-1993 seasons. In 2019 Dr. Sochinski was conferred the title of professor emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
He has served as arranger for the Virginia Tech's 330-member “Marching Virginians” for 26 years and wrote for many college and university bands throughout the country. Over fifty of his compositions and arrangements are published. His published and commissioned works have been performed throughout the world at new music festivals, concerts and conferences. His commissioned works have been performed at the Western States Collegiate Wind Band Festival, conferences of the College Music Society, College Band Directors National Association, and Virginia Music Educators Association, and at several MidWest International Band and Orchestra Clinics. In venues from New Orleans' Superdome to the DCI World Championships to New York's Carnegie Hall, his music reaches diverse audiences of many musical tastes.
James Sochinski's works in his later years for Virginia Tech artists included Triple Concerto for Trumpet, Horn, Trombone and Band, premiered by Tech professors Allen Bachelder, Wallace Easter and Jay Crone with the University of Leeds Symphonic Wind Ensemble in Leeds, United Kingdom; Song of Solomon, performed by the Tech Meistersingers on a concert tour of England and Scotland; and Chugga-Chugga for Bassoon and Band, premiered by Tech professor John Husser and the Dayton (OH) Philharmonic Winds. Dr. Sochinski's compositions and arrangements were not limited to works for winds. He was involved in projects with a variety of artists, for example, a Phil Collins tour in the early 1990s.
He was an active performer and served as bass trombonist for the Roanoke Symphony orchestra for 33 years, beginning in 1977.
Works for Winds
- Fantasie (2006)
- Halcyon Transfigured (1991)
- Hokie Stone Sinfonia (2016)
- The Legend of Alcobaca (1991)
- Mozart Variations
- Sweet Land of Liberty (1988)
- James Sochinski, personal correspondence, April 2019
- James Sochinski, Virginia Tech