James B. Furman ((1937-01-23)January 23, 1937 - September 9, 1989) was an African-American composer and college professor.Born in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of six he began piano studies with his aunt, Permelia Hansbrough. In 1953, at the age of sixteen, he won first place with a composition submitted to the Louisville Philharmonic Society's Young Artist Competition which was performed with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, which allowed him to appear as a soloist with the Louisville Symphony.He received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Theory-Composition degrees from the University of Louisville. Further graduate study was pursued at Brandeis and Harvard Universities where he completed the academic requirements for the Ph.D. His teachers in composition included Irving Fine, Arthur Berger, George Perle, Harold Shapero and Claude Almand.Among the many awards and honors which he has received are: the Omicron Delta Kappa Award as the top ranking music student of his graduating class at the University of Louisville, first place in the Brookline Library Composition Competition and two National Federation of Music Clubs awards for distinguished service to American music.During the 1960s Furman was musical director-arranger-pianist for the Army World Touring "Rolling Along Show". His New York debut was made in Town Hall as a conductor. He was also choral director for both the BBC documentary film on the life of Charles Ives, and the Leonard Bernstein American Symphony Orchestra Ives Centennial Concert held at the Danbury State Fairgrounds in Danbury, Connecticut on July 4, 1974.His teaching career included tenures in the public schools of Louisville (1958–59) and Mamaroneck, New York (1964–65), and at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury (1965- ). His compositions fall primarily into the categories of choral works, songs, and chamber music. Best-known of his works are the symphonic oratorio I Have a Dream (1971), Hehlehlooyuh for a cappella chorus (1976), the trio Variants (1963), the choral suite Four Little Foxes (1965), and Declaration of Independence for orchestra and narrator (1977). He was also active as a church organist and choral director.Furman is represented in nineteen literary sources. Included among these is an in-depth study of his selected choral music in a doctoral dissertation by Effie Gardner (Michigan State University). He is widely published in a variety of mediums which include orchestral, vocal, chamber, solo, mixed media and Afro-American gospel music. He was engaged in completing a book on "The History and Performance Practice of Afro-American Gospel Music."