James William Osborn

1890 - 1986

James W. Osborn taught at three Seventh-day Adventist colleges during his career as a singer, choir director, and pianist. He taught at Washington Missionary College, now Washington Adventist University, from 1925 to 1928, where he directed the program, was known as a singer and pianist, and conducted the college choral groups. During his three years at WMC, Osborn and Harold Hannum, college piano teacher, enjoyed a reputation as outstanding duo-pianists.

In 1928 he traveled to Europe, where he studied piano and became an L.A.R.M. (Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music) in London. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1930, he served as chair of the music program at Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, for four years.

Osborn returned to WMC to teach piano and serve as chair of the department from 1934 to 1940. He then served as head of the piano department at Pacific Union College for two years. In the mid-1950s, he recorded an album of piano-organ duets with C. Warren Becker, titled Keyboard Reveries, released by Chapel Records in 1958.

He was a contributor to the church's primary magazine, The Review and Herald, writing a four-part series of articles on spiritualism in 1953. He also wrote an article in 1975 titled "Virtuoso Christianity," in which he compared the experience of living a victorious Christian life to that of a pianist learning to play a challenging piece. He was living in Napa, California, at the time of his death at age 96.

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Sources: 1934 Summer issue of the EMC The Student Movement; WMC The Sligonian, 1934 to 1940; R&H, 15 August 1940, 15, 22 January 1953, 12, 19 February 1953, 2 March 1961, 3 July 1975; Pacific Union Recorder, 31 July 1940; Dan Shultz, "Music at Columbia Union College," IAMA Notes, Summer/Autumn 2003;.