Dr. James McGowan is an Associate Professor of Music at Carleton University, where he teaches music theory and composition. He is a passionate educator and was won several teaching awards. He served as Carleton University Chair in Teaching Innovation (2020–23) for his work in developing experiences in the arts on campus and in the community. He is the Managing Director of the Carleton Jazz Camp, and he serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education in Ottawa.

Embracing multiple styles of music, Dr. McGowan is a solo and collaborative pianist, equally at home in jazz, classical, and improvised music. The 14-member James McGowan Ensemble releases its jazz-classical fusion album Reaching In in 2023 featuring his compositions and poetry, supported in part by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

In recent years, he has released four other albums as leader or co-leader, including Over the Mountain, a live recording of a concert of collaborative free improvisation performed with Korean percussionist and vocalist Dong-Wong Kim. Other albums, including the critically acclaimed album 4K, feature his work as composer, pianist, and leader of the quartet Modasaurus.

“Canadian quartet Modasaurus displays expert musicianship in a session firmly rooted in contemporary jazz fusion. Modasaurus is a quartet of extremely skilled musicians who combine styles expertly and turn 4K into a great success.” – Elliot Marlow-Stevens, Jazz Journal (UK), March 24, 2021