Tim Janis, who has conducted the Czech National Symphony, the Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic, and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in addition to writing his own music, studied piano and received a degree in composition from the University of New Hampshire in 1991. He has cited composers John Williams, John Barry, and Hans Zimmer as major influences, but has experimented with several forms of the art, writing musicals (produced at UNH), synthesized pop songs with vocals, scores for small independent films, and even country, jazz, acoustic, and hard rock arrangements. Owning a record label and studio, Tim Janis Ensemble, in Kennebunk, ME, has allowed the composer the freedom to continue interacting with musicians from many genres, the fruit of which is seen in his extensive discography.
A prolific recording artist, Janis has released over 15 solo compositions, among them Etain (1996), A Thousand Summers (2002), Across Two Oceans (2004), and Coming Home (2005), as well as many Christmas recordings. His work generally concerns itself with strong and descriptive melodies, often regarding the beauty of nature (for example, 1996's Along the Shore of Acadia, a rich tone poem inspired by the national park), proving it the perfect accompaniment for two public television programs extolling the physical splendor of the United States, Beautiful America (2004) and Coastal America (2006), both narrated by actor George Clooney. Janis also performed in a live special for PBS, 2001's An American Composer in Concert, with the American Symphony Orchestra, whom he conducted.
Believing that music can be more than entertainment, the composer began his Music with a Mission project, with the purpose of encouraging understanding and cognizance between different people and cultures. He has brought the all-female HIV-positive South African choir Sinikithemba to the U.S. to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic there, performed a series of concerts in China to bridge communication between the two countries, and as of 2006 was still leading the Music in Our Schools volunteer program, which is meant to inspire elementary school students to create and study music. ~ Marisa Brown