James Nova

In the Fall of 2009, James Nova joined the GRAMMY award-winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as its Second/Utility Trombone. Before joining the PSO, Jim served eight seasons as the Assistant Principal/Second Trombonist of the Utah Symphony Orchestra.

Jim began playing the trombone at age nine in his home state of Connecticut. As a child he received his early musical exposure and training from his father, Anesti Nova. During high school, Jim studied with his first private trombone teacher, Assistant Principal/Second Trombonist of the Hartford Symphony, George Sanders.

After graduating high school, Jim attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he received his Bachelor’s Degree studying with the Philadelphia Orchestra’s then Principal Trombonist Glenn Dodson. Jim then moved to Boston to pursue a Master’s Degree on a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, studying with then Boston Symphony Orchestra trombonist, Norman Bolter. In addition to his college education, James attended the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and was also a member of the Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship Orchestra for three summers. After finishing his Master’s Degree, he freelanced in Boston for several years, substituting on a regular basis with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra, making several recordings and television broadcasts with both groups as both principal and second trombone. In 2001, Jim moved to Salt Lake City to join the Utah Symphony Orchestra.

From 2003 to 2007 he enjoyed playing at the Grand Teton Music Festival, and played and taught at the Brevard Music Center in the summer of 2013. He is also the former second trombonist of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Orange County, California, former principal of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, former principal of the Vermont Symphony, and former assistant principal of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

Jim’s debut solo recording, Albanian Rhapsody, is a debut in both performance and composition for the father and son team, composer Anesti Nova and trombonist James Nova. All but one piece in this world premiere collection of compositions is for solo trombone and either string or chamber orchestra. The music is ethnically charged, deriving much influence and flavor from Jim and Anesti’s strong Albanian background. It is at times tragic, languid and yet uplifting as it chronicles (with the trombone as storyteller) the journey of the Nova family through hardships and eventual triumph over adversity. 

In March of 2012, Jim made his solo debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, performing the Henri Tomasi Trombone concerto as well as his own arrangement of the famous Tommy Dorsey jazz ballad, I’m Getting Sentimental Over You which is the material on which Tomasi based his trombone concerto.

Since 2012, Jim has found a new passion using recording technology to explore multi-track recording, also known as "overdubbing” (or, as he calls it, “Novadubbing”), and created numerous stunning recordings of challenging new transcriptions and arrangements he's done of a variety of exciting repertoire for trombone choir. These employ a number of trombones: contrabass, bass, tenor, small tenor, alto and even soprano trombones! To hear these, go to soundcloud.com/jimnova where his recordings have enjoyed over 600,000 listens!

In 2017, Jim performed world premiere orchestrations by Anthony DiLorenzo of the "Theme from the Green Hornet" and "I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You." These performances were with the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras and later that year, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Jim as soloist.

Most recently, in December 2017, Jim has released a new overdub album for trombone choir, A Fall from Light to Dark. Through the chosen moments of John Williams’ masterful scores, this album musically chronicles the rise and descent of Anakin Skywalker as he transforms into Darth Vader. Truly a one-man show, this album’s transcriptions, playing, recording, editing, mixing and mastering were all done by Jim Nova!

Jim has had a lifelong love of John Williams’ film scores since his Dad took him and his brother to see The Empire Strikes Back in the theater. Throughout his career he has performed and recorded with John Williams on several occasions, with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Boston Pops as well as the Utah Symphony.

When Jim is not on stage at Heinz Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony, he can be found at Duquesne University where he’s Brass Coordinator and Adjunct Trombone Faculty, and also the Brass Coach of the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras. 

Visit Jim’s newly revamped website, jimnova.com, for more info.

Jim is an S.E. Shires Artist and performs on Greg Black Mouthpieces.