James Funkhouser is a native of New Hampshire. While attending Andover Academy and the University of New Hampshire, he studied horn with Walter MacDonald of the Boston Symphony. As a student at the Juilliard School of Music, he studied horn under James Chambers, composition with Bernard Wagenaar, and theory with Vincent Persichetti, Robert Ward, and Richard Franko Goldman.
After serving two years in the US Army Signal Corps Band, he played first horn in the Calgary Philharmonic and then settled in Kansas City, playing horn with the Kansas City Philharmonic while furthering his horn studies with Philip Farkas, Ross Taylor, Fred Fox, and Harold Gomberg. Jim has also studied conducting with Hans Schwieger, Hans Jugo Huss, and Elisabeth Green. He enjoys conducting his own works and particularly enjoys writing compositions for his friends and colleagues.
Jim has conducted the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Kansas City Ballet, and founded and conducted the Kansas City Repertory Orchestra for 15 years. He is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Overland Park Orchestra, a position he has held since 1981.
Jim has organized many chamber orchestra programs utilizing members of the Kansas City Symphony for performance throughout the Kansas City area. Jim has a special affection for working with community orchestras in regards to focusing attention on performance levels and being a service to the community.
Jim is a member of ASCAP and is editor of his own publishing firm, Baskerville Press. His first CD entitled ‘Intimate Solos for Strings’ was released in 2001. He was a hornist with the Kansas City Symphony, a position he held for 25 years, and enjoys living with his wife, Nan, raising Trakehner horses on their farm in Baldwin City, Kansas.