Dr. James Hile is currently Director of Bands at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois. Prior to this appointment, he served as Director of Bands at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In this capacity, he conducted the Symphonic Band, Concert Band, the Basketball Pep Bands, and the Marching Tar Heels. He also taught undergraduate and graduate instrumental conducting and band arranging. Prior to his appointment at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Hile served as Assistant Director of Bands at the University of Illinois.
Hile studied conducting with Dr. Harry Begian, Director Emeritus of University Bands at the University of Illinois; Dr. Clarence Sawhill, Director Emeritus of University Bands at the University of California, Los Angeles; and Dr. David Whitwell, Director Emeritus of University Bands at California State University at Northridge. Dr. Hile is a product of the Southern California public schools and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education from UCLA. He then taught at Santa Monica High School, where he established what many consider was one of the finest high school band programs in California and in the United States. He completed a Master of Science Degree in Music Education and an Education Doctorate at the University of Illinois.
Hile has gained a national reputation as a band arranger, having done marching band arrangements for numerous university and high school bands across the country. He has transcribed several major works for the band medium with performances by the United States Army Band, the United States Army Brass Band, the United States Air Force Band, the Interlochen Music Academy Bands, the Dallas Wind Symphony, numerous university bands, and also the Israel Philharmonic Winds. He studied band transcription with Mark Hindsley and band arranging with Kelly James and James Curnow. He is currently working on several new transcriptions and arrangements for the band medium.
Dr. Hile received numerous awards for outstanding teaching at Santa Monica High School and was nominated several times for the "Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching" Award, both at the University of Illinois and at the University of North Carolina. He was honored with membership in the "Order of the Golden Fleece" for outstanding contributions to the University of North Carolina, and the North Carolina Bandmasters Association presented a special award for his contributions to music education and bands in North Carolina. He is a recipient of the "Citation of Excellence" by the National Band Association. At Highland Park High School, he has received several of the Superintendent's Awards for Excellence, and the Highland Park High School Bands are the only school organization to have received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The Highland Park Wind Symphony was invited to perform in Japan at the invitation of the Yamaha Corporation and has also traveled to China, Italy, Mexico, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, where they wereawarded a gold medal at the 2012 Prague International Music Festival. Hile was recognized as the Illinois Bandmaster of the Year in 2012 by Phi Beta Mu, the international bandmaster fraternity.