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James Clanton

About James Clanton

Dr. James Clanton is a Professor of Music on the faculty of Pittsburg State University. His primary duties include teaching graduate and undergraduate percussion majors and non-majors, directing the PSU Pride of the Plains Drumline, and directing and conducting the PSU Percussion Ensemble.

As a performer, he has appeared with several ensembles, including the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Springfield Symphony (MO), Kansas City Ballet Orchestra, Liberty Symphony, St. Joseph Symphony, Southeast Kansas Symphony, Kansas City Civic Orchestra, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, the Northland Symphony Orchestra of Kansas City, where he served as principal timpanist for seven seasons. He currently serves as Principal Timpanist of the Tulsa Signature Symphony Orchestra. Clanton has also participated in several festivals and chamber ensembles across the United States, including the Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, Kansas, the Puccini Festival Orchestra in Kansas City, Missouri, the Mahlerfest Orchestra in Boulder, Colorado, the OKMozart Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the Fountain City Brass Band of Kansas City, the Chamber Music Society of Kansas City, and the Percussion Plus Project (IN).

A former member of Marimba Yajalón and Marimba Sol de Chiapas, Clanton has traveled internationally performing and lecturing about the traditional marimba music of Mexico and Guatemala. In the summer of 2009 he taught a 5 week course at the National Catholic University in Asuncion, Paraguay. While there, and again on subsequent annual invitations, he performed as a soloist and provied master classes as a guest artist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Asuncion. In addition to performing in South America, Clanton also performed as a guest vibraphone soloist of the Associazione Culturale Colleionci in Velletri, Italy. While in Italy, he performed and taught at the first and second annual Grumo Music Festival (Grumo, Italy). Under his direction, the PSU Percussion Ensemble has performed at and hosted numerous Percussive Arts Society Kansas Day's of Percussion. The PSU Percussion Ensemble also performed at the 2014 KMEA In-Service Workshop.

James received a Bachelor's degree in music education from Oklahoma City University, and earned both a Masters and Doctoral degrees in percussion performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. In the summers he has served as a faculty member of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan, and regularly works with numerous public schools across the United States arranging percussion music for competitive marching shows, and providing clinics and master-classes. James is an educational endorser/clinician for Sabian Cymbals, Pearl/Adams Percussion, and Innovative Percussion. 

Dr. Clanton was awarded the "Excellence in Creative Activity" award by members of the faculty of PSU in the spring of 2022. 


  • D.M.A. University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.
  • M.M. University of Missouri-Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.
  • B.M.E. Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
James Clanton
Dr. James Clanton

Phone: (620) 235-4464

Office: 104 McCray Hall

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