DARCY JAMES ARGUE 2019 Missouri All-State Jazz Ensemble Director
A Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader, Darcy James Argue has toured nationally and internationally with his 18-piece ensemble, Secret Society, garnering countless awards and nominations and reimagining what a 21st-century big band can sound like. Argue made his mark with his critically acclaimed 2009 debut Infernal Machines. 2013 saw the release of Brooklyn Babylon, which, like Infernal Machines before it, earned the group nominations for both GRAMMY and JUNO Awards. His most recent recording, Real Enemies, released in the fall of 2016, has been praised as “wildly discursive, twitchily allusive, a work of furious ambition... deeply in tune with our present moment” by The New York Times. In addition to his work with Secret Society, Argue has toured Australia and New Zealand leading the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, and was featured in the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos’ inaugural international Jazz Composers Forum. He has led performances of his music by the WDR Big Band, the Danish Radio Big Band, the Frankfurt Radio Bigband, the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Big Band Palácio das Artes, and the West Point Jazz Knights. Argue has composed works for chamber duo and string quartet, art songs for Newspeak, and created arrangements for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted residencies and workshops at the University of North Texas, McGill University, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, Cornish College, Western Connecticut State University, and with the Western Australian Jazz Youth Orchestra, among others. In 2012, he was composer-in-residence for Missouri State University’s annual Composition Festival.
In 2015, Argue was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition and a Doris Duke Artist Award. He has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the Jazz Gallery, the Manhattan New Music Project, the Jerome Foundation, and BAM, as well as ensembles including the Danish Radio Big Band, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the West Point Jazz Knights, and the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New Music USA, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Composers Now, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony.