Larry S. Bonura

SUDDUTH, JAMES (1940–1997). James Sudduth, band director and composer, was born on October 19, 1940, in Crosbyton, Texas. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Claude L. Sudduth. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Texas Tech University, where he also met his wife, Lynda, in 1959. Sudduth began his professional career with the Lubbock Independent School District. He finished it as director of bands at Texas Tech, a post he attained in 1981 and held until his death. Between the ISD and Tech, he worked as director of bands at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), and as an assistant professor of music and director of the marching band at Northwestern University.

In his supervisory role at Tech he oversaw the entire band program. He also conducted the university's nationally-acclaimed Symphonic Band and directed the Texas Tech Band and Orchestra Camp, one of the largest youth music camps in the nation. Sudduth also taught arranging and conducting at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Sudduth's arrangements, transcriptions, and compositions, for both marching and concert band, numbered more than 300. Many of them were published.

Omicron Delta Kappa and Mortar Board honored Sudduth in 1982 for outstanding service to Texas Tech. The next year he participated in the National Intercollegiate Band. Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America awarded him the National Citation of Excellence in 1985 for outstanding contributions to music. Sudduth was guest conductor of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra at Ballet Lubbock's performances of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker from 1987 through 1993. In addition, he conducted the Lubbock Youth Symphony Orchestra in 1992 and led several of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra's pops concerts. In October 1988 he became the first American to guest-conduct the Seoul Wind Ensemble in Seoul, South Korea. In May 1993 he conducted the Texas Tech University Symphonic Band at Carnegie Hall. In 1995 he received the Distinguished Service to Music Medal, the highest honor that can be bestowed by Kappa Kappa Psi / Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Fraternity.

James and Lynda Sudduth had two sons. Sudduth died at home on December 3, 1997, after a lengthy illness. He was inducted posthumously into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 2001.


The Foot'n A Half News, A Publication of the Texas Tech Band Alumni Association, December 1997 (, accessed October 18, 2002. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Lubbock Online (, accessed December 23, 2008. (, accessed October 18, 2002.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Larry S. Bonura, "SUDDUTH, JAMES," accessed July 18, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 26, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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