You are here

Passages: James Philip Sifferman (’75 BM, Piano Performance)

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on September 22, 2022 - 7:14pm
School of Music alumnus James Sifferman (’75 BM, Piano Performance)

School of Music alumnus James Philip Sifferman died on May 11, 2022, in Gaffney, SC, after several years of declining health. Born June 20, 1951, he was the son of Earl and Betty Sifferman of West Seattle. He attended Seattle Prep where he graduated Valedictorian of the Class of 1969. He attended Seattle University before entering the University of Washington (Seattle) where, in 1975, he received a Bachelor of Music (BM) in Piano Performance (Phi Beta Kappa). He earned a Master of Music (MM – Piano Performance) at The Juilliard School (New York City) and completed his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA - Piano Performance) at the University of Texas at Austin.

During his career, “Jim” served as both performer and college professor. He won several important competitions including the Pittsburgh (PA) Three Rivers Competition and the National Beethoven Sonata competition in Memphis, (TN). He accepted his first professorship at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC (1982-86) before he was asked to join the faculty of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO, where he taught for 26 years until his retirement in 2013. He performed extensively throughout the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Far East. In 1988, he gave his solo debut at Carnegie Recital Hall and in 1990 released the first of four solo “Live” concert compact discs. He toured on the Columbia Artist Community Concert Series and in 1992 performed a recital on the legendary Horowitz Steinway. In 1993, he was invited to teach as Visiting Professor at the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music (PRC), and he served as Master Teacher at Operafestival di Roma (Italy) in 1995.

James was preceded in death by his parents, Earl and Betty, and by his younger brother Charles (Charlie) in 1980. He is survived by his sister Kathleen of Seattle, brothers Stephen and Edward of Grapeview, WA, and Earl Jr. (Joe) and wife Diana of Graham, WA, niece Brooke, nephews Joseph (Katie) and Benjamin (Jenn), four great-nieces and one great-nephew.  He also leaves behind many other relatives, dear friends, loving caregivers, and long-time companion friend and primary caregiver Lynn Lawrence.

Read full obituary here

News Category: