Skip to main content

Pictured is James Cunningham. Photo | Randall Coleman

Visiting Assistant Professor

Contact Information


  • M.A., Piano Performance, New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
  • B.M., Composition, Manhattan School of Music

Courses Taught

  • Acting Through Song
  • Musical Theatre Repertoire
  • Professional Seminar


James Cunningham is a conductor, music director, pianist and vocal coach. He is currently the music director for the Pittsburgh CLO summer season. His New York credits include Avenue Q (New World Stages) as conductor, music director for TheaterWorksUSA’s original production of Bunnicula (DR2, National Tour and Original Cast Album), Hot Mess In Manhattan (Araca Project) and Happy Birthday (TACT) for which he also provided original music.

Cunningham has appeared at some of the nation’s leading regional theaters and spent several seasons as music director for Casa Mañana’s Broadway Series in Fort Worth, Texas. His extensive regional credits include productions for Round House Theatre, North Carolina Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, Arena Stage, The Sharon Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse, The Engeman Theater and The MUNY. He most recently helped create a re-imagined production of Footloose for Norwegian Cruise Line.

As a pianist, he has toured with productions of Monty Python’s Spamalot, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Evita and Cats. His performance during Symphony Space’s Wall to Wall Stephen Schwartz concert in 2016 led to a collaboration with Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA which has produced multiple recordings of new and existing choral works currently released by Acis records.

Cunningham spent several years as a coach and music director for the program in vocal performance at New York University. 

Professional Membership

  • American Federation of Musicians    

Awards and Honors

  • Recipient, Nicolas Flagello Award, Manhattan School of Music