Jazz Performances:              

         “Bowen… brought down the house.”

                  Paul Hertelendy, San Jose Mercury News

         “Bowen and Monroe…are versatile artists equally at home in classical and jazz styles…played with crisp brilliant and lyrical elegance.  The players, finely coordinated in their phrasing, found harmonious agreement without sacrificing individuality.”

                  Joseph McLellan, Washington Post

         “…a strong emotional focus…majestic…a sense of pulsing energy and emotional urgency…lush harmonies…and finally a rollicking, soulful segment of gospel/blues.”

                  William Johnson, Peninsula Times Tribune

         “a suite called “Night Sketches,” [for a ballet by Ehud Krauss] which featured a semi-improvisational score by the José Bowen Quartet, was an exceptional piece of work…The catalyst for this good work was, obviously, the quartet.”

                  Judith Green, San Jose Mercury News

                        No. 2 on her 1989 Best Performances in the Bay Area List


Classical Compositions:                    

         “[Bowen’s Symphony No. 1] sounded wonderfully fresh and dramatically compelling,…a fascinating story,…and he makes symphonic form the ideal medium to tell it…four richly imaginative movements…showed why the symphony had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.”

                  Joseph McLellan, Washington Post

         “…melodic, crisp vigorous and decisive…enthusiastic, dynamic and authoritative”

                  John Boykin, Stanford Magazine

         “…a compelling world premiere…He writes congenially for the voice with a bright, mobile texture reflecting [Anne] Frank’s own indomitable nature….The songs haunted me.”

                  Paul Hertelendy, San Jose Mercury News

          “Through these four excerpts we are given a strong sense of what life must have been for this young girl, shut off from the world and constantly fearful for her life and those she loved.  At the same time, Frank’s inner yearnings for normal emotional expression and everyday activities prevalent.  Also, the maturity in her need to be brave and strong in her faith for those around her.

              Bowen has created a poignant, well-balanced cycle, addressing all aspects of the text with a musical setting which is at times neat and to the point, always relevant, skillful, and touching.  This work appeals to the intellect as well as the emotions and allows the singer ample leeway to express individual artistic ideas.  The vocal style is quite traditional, and the composer has taken care to set the text in its natural idiomatic intention so that the singer can enjoy the free flow of the vocal line.  The four songs offer different moods, from reminiscences to youthful exuberance, with the underlying tragedy of Frank’s fate as a cryptic comment within the beauty of the musical sound.  This is a most satisfying work.”

                  Dr. Sharon Mabry, National Association of Teachers of Singing

                   (NATS) Journal,  (January/February 1994.)


Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology

         “[Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology] Assembled over seven years, it’s a 6-disc monolith with a 200-page book of liner notes – the best single introduction to America’s first great musical form.”  

                        Time Magazine

         “[Jazz:] The Smithsonian Anthology is a landmark achievement. It is the most important and most comprehensive collection of historical jazz recordings and will be a valuable educational tool for years to come. But the collection reaches beyond the classroom, capturing something of the spirit of America as well.”

                                    Washington Post (March 17, 2011)

         “It does more, for instance, with free jazz and Afro-Latin music than some others have done.  It represents both popular taste and scholarly consensus.  It is balanced in all things….”

                                    Ben Ratliff, New York Times (Arts and Leisure, front page, Sunday, March 20, 2011)

         “The most wide-ranging and stylistically diverse jazz anthology ever compiled”

Charles J. Gans, Associated Press, April 1 (reprinted widely)

         “…big news and likely to start some professors rethinking their syllabi.”

                                    Boston Globe

         “…a beautifully illustrated, 200-page hardback book, and the imprimatur of a classy collection of American jazz scholars…an absorbing, gracefully presented, fast overview of the music’s evolution for newcomers, an absorbing, gracefully presented, fast overview of the music’s evolution …” 

                                    John Fordham, The Guardian (London, June 9, 2011)

         “Beautifully and meticulously packaged…wonderful listening.”

                                    Los Angeles Times

         “[T]he 6-CD, 111-song set provides a dissection of mostly great works with technical, historical and musical details …it’s encouraging to see Tomasz Stan’ko, Anthony Braxton and the Art Ensemble of Chicago seated at the table with Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, an acknowledgement that the music continues to evolve deep in the shadows of popular culture.” 


         “Jazz [The Smithsonian Anthology] is a stunning achievement- an immersion into the genre’s most important artists and distinctive styles as selected by Dan Morgenstern, David Baker, and other leading educators, with liner notes by a “who’s who” of jazz experts.”

                        Archives of African American Music and Culture

          “No ‘canonical’ collection of important jazz recordings can hope to be definitive, but this one, which contains 111 tracks and is accompanied by a 200-page book, comes as close as you’re likely to get. This is a serious and largely admirable piece of work.” 


         “Whether you really like jazz or just know you should like it, this collection will get you up to speed. [Jazz] The Smithsonian Anthology puts the history, culture and key players all in perspective. They’re calling it a ‘jazz appreciation course in a box.’ We call that cool!”


         “An epic new anthology from Smithsonian Folkways!”

                        Straight No Chaser

Links to reviews

  • Associated Press, by Charles J. Gans, April 1 (reprinted widely)


  • Down Beat preview, by John Ephland, April 2011
  • Time, by Douglas Wolk, April 4
  • The New York Times, by Ben Ratliff, Mar 20


  • The Washington Post, by Matt Schudel, Mar 27


  • Boston Globe, Bill Beuttner, March 28


  • Wall Street Journal, Stuart Isacoff, April 28


Reposts of AP REVIEW partial list

                   WEEU 830 AM|The Reading Eagle (PA):  JTSA review, posted 5-1-11.

                   The Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc WI): JTSA review, posted 4-21-11.

                   Arab Times [Kuwait|Middle-East]: JTSA review, posted 4-18-11.

                   The Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA): JTSA review, posted 4-7-11.

                   sify.com (India): JTSA review, posted 4-4-11.

                   The Beaver County Times (Beaver, PA): JTSA review, posted 4-4-11.

                   CBS News: JTSA review, posted 4-4-11.

                   The Brandon Sun [Manitoba, Canada]: JTSA review, posted 4-4-11.

                   Salon.com: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   Forbes.com: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   Wonderwall.com: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   wn.com (World News Network): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   Yahoo! News: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   NBC |Today.com: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   ABC News: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   Xfinity|Comcast.net: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   newsvine.com: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   Boston.com: JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   baynews9.com (Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   WRAL TV (Raleigh-Durham, NC): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   WRCB TV {Channel 3} (Chattanooga, TN): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   KTAR (Phoenix, AZ): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   KFOXTV.com {Channel 14} (El Paso, TX): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   WTOP (DC): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, CA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The San Francisco Chronicle (CA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Seattle Times (WA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Bellingham Herald (WA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Tri-City Herald (Kennewick/Mid-Columbia, WA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Washington Examiner (DC): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Minneapolis Star Tribune (MN): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Austin American-Statesman (TX): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Valley Morning Star (McAllen|South, TX): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                  The Sioux City Journal (IA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   WCF Courier (Waterloo, IA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Sacramento Bee (CA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Erie Times-News (PA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Dallas Morning News (TX): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Herald (Rock Hill, SC): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Kansas City Star (MO): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Miami Herald (FL): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Daily Comet (Thibodaux, LA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC): JTSA review in “Kicks Online,” posted 4-1-11.

                   The Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Washington Times (DC): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Merced Sun-Star (Merced, CA): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.

                   The Orlando Sentinel (FL): JTSA review, posted 4-1-11.


The Cambridge Companion to Conducting:

         “..immensely engaging…There is so much more to discover in the pages of this fine volume with its superbly-annotated endnotes, all-encompassing bibliography…Thus, the choral conductor is urged to carefully read and internalize its superlative contents…Without delay, obtain your copy of The Cambridge Companion to Conducting.”

                  Stephen Town, Book Review Editor, Choral Journal (September 2006), p. 73-79 [The entire review section for this issue is devoted to this one book]

         “These essays, brought together by José Antonio Bowen, are exploratory rather than didactic…Of particular use are the two bibliographies…By chosing practical musicians as his contributors, Bowen ensures that the vast majority of the commentary is perceptive and relevant to working musicians as well as to the interested reader.  The essays are pithy, touching on a massive range of subjects without becoming stuck in a bog of polemics.  Perhaps most admirably, Bowen is not afraid of opposing points of view…This is a rewarding and often revealing read.

                  Robin Newton, Classical Music (Saturday May, 8, 2004), p. 33

         “This volume presents a comprehensive (sometimes intersecting, sometimes contradictory) range of views about conducting. … [Bowen] provides depth and informed criticism of the conducting styles of different conducting luminaries…[and] meticulously detail how these conductors handled tempi, marking, the rehearsal process, a conducting ethos, realization of the composer’s intentions, and sonic ideals…The American tradition as Bowen and David Mermelstein suggest, is unique in the paradox of its simultaneous rootedness in European origins and struggle to become independent of them…Their approach is original: they reference cities and their orchestras, instead of prominent conductors, as the central core of conducting traditions…As a whole, this volume clearly succeeds in providing illuminating insight, practical advice and insider information that is otherwise unavailable in academic circles…Most notably, however, this collection of essays displays the fundamental impact the conducting profession has had, and continues to have on fostering creativity and engendering social and cultural change.”

                  Dr. Joel Novarro, 19th-century Music Review vol. 2/1 (Ashgate, 2005),

                  p. 171-174

         “The essays on national traditions in the Companion are rich in anecdote…The ‘Issues’ section is also unusually interesting.”

                  Richard Osborne, The Oldie (August 2004), p. 61

         “This is a very comprehensive, honest and highly interesting book , both for a broad public who wants to see behind the face off this profession and for practicing conductors: dieses Buch nur also sehr umfassend, ehrlich und hoch interessant ansehen kann, sowohl, für ein breites Publikum, das etwas hinter die Fassade dieses Berufs sehen will, als auch für angehended Dirigenten.”

                  Pizzicato 5 (2004)

         “Fascinating reading…Dozens of absorbing topics make this collection a page turner. Highly recommended.”

                  John Harrison, The Opera Journal (2005) p. 36-38

         “José Bowen’s aim is to bridge the gap between textbooks on conducting and biographies of conductors through the “combination of practical details with a fresh look at the musical, social, and economic history of conducting” (pp. xvi–xvii). The result is a highly engaging and colorful book, reflecting the complexity of the subject… Bowen avoids the danger of overlap in the use of so many different voices… Bowen’s opening chapter to Part II of the book on “The Rise of Conducting” is an excellent brief historical introduction to the ensuing six chapters on the most influential conducting traditions… Bowen did a superb editing job, avoiding redundancy as the contributors offer their individual perspectives… The Cambridge Companion to Conducting delivers on its promise to be an “unusually honest book about the secretive industry, (in which) managers, artistic directors, soloists, players, and conductors openly discuss their different perspectives for the first time” (p. i). It is highly recommended for any serious conducting student and the sophisticated musical layperson. The broad range of essays will raise more questions than the book itself can answer, which seems appropriate and necessary. Because Bowen and his contributors identify many of the important issues to be considered before entering the complex and exceptional world of conducting, this volume will be an important companion and catalyst for further discussions in the near future.

                  Dr Siegwart Reichwald, Journal of Musicological Research vol. 24 (2005), p. 77-80

         “The Cambridge Companion to Conducting, edited by José Antonio Bowen, offers tangible observations on the real world of conducting.  This is a welcome addition to the current choice of conducting texts, which consist mainly of extensive description and illustrations of conducting technique.”

                  Paula Zerkle, IAWM Journal 11/1 (2005) p. 37

         “This book falls into three parts – ‘Practice’, ‘History’ and ‘Issues’ – which is as good a way as any of getting this almost unwieldy subject into some kind of order…I welcome the contributions from the practitioners of the craft…worth the attention of any aspiring accompanist…full of practical and valuable advice.

                         Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review (May 1, 2004), p. 314