James Stephens began his journey with the guitar in Houston, Texas at the age of 13 with the electric guitar, learning blues and rock and later won a scholarship to study classical guitar with Philip Hii in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in music with an emphasis in guitar performance. Mr. Stephens furthered his studies with Douglas Niedt at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he was awarded the Ryan Greenberg guitar scholarship and earned a Master of Music degree in guitar performance. He refined his skills further by performing in master classes with guitar greats such as the L.A. Guitar Quartet, William Kanengiser, and Jason Vieaux. A dedicated music educator, Mr. Stephens has served on the faculty of San Jacinto College-Central in Pasadena, TX, Baker University, Rockhurst University, MCC-Longview, and UMKC. Mr. Stephens is currently focused on teaching exclusively at his home studio in Overland Park, KS.
In 2004 and 2006, Mr. Stephens was selected as the guitar adjudicator for the Mid-America Music Festival. In addition to being recognized as an outstanding music educator, Mr. Stephens has been regularly selected by the Kansas City Guitar Society to perform recitals in various venues, including the recently renovated Helzberg Auditorium in the Kansas City Downtown Library. He also performs freelance engagements in the Kansas City area. He currently lives in Overland Park, Kansas with his wife and son.