James Q. Mulholland - Professor, Music Theory/History
Professor of Music James Q. Mulholland joined the Butler faculty
in 1964, a time when there were curfews in the girls' dormitories,
a panty raid alarmed the university president enough to call out
the National Guard and the faculty shared one telephone.
Policies and facilities have changed dramatically. What hasn't
changed, he says, is the quality of the students.
"My compositions lead me to a lot of universities, and I have
direct interaction with their students," he says. "I always come
back refreshed and very proud of our students."
Mulholland grew up in southern Mississippi, his formative years
spent in his mother's arms "listening to her sing beautiful songs
and sitting in my father's lap, listening to him quote great
minds." His first paid singing job was at 10 in a local
Presbyterian church boys' choir. "I was given $2 a week," he says,
"and I thought the world had opened up and smiled upon me."
"I found that I got more attention than the other kids from
teachers, from girls, from people in general," he says. "And the
more I practiced, the better I became. You might say I pursued it
because of ego. I was more or less a shy person. When I realized I
could let my music speak for me, I found I could let the bee come
to the honey."
He graduated high school at 15 and started at Louisiana State
University a year later. After earning a B.M. and M.M. there,
Indiana University offered him a full scholarship to pursue his
doctorate. In 1964, as he was finishing at IU, a job opened at
Through the years, Mulholland has earned countless awards for
his work as a composer. In 1999, an evening of his work was
performed at Carnegie Hall. The most recent recording of his
compositions is Words & Music: The Music of James
Mulholland, by the Kansas City Chorale.
"Music is my life," Mulholland says, "but the podium is my life
also. I have to expound on what I love. I have to tell others what
I love. I have to share with others, through my compositions, but
also through my commitment to teaching. I love to get in front of a
captive audience. I like to look into their eyes, to be a part of