When honoring him with its Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters noted that a "rare economy of means and a strain of religious mysticism distinguish the music of James Primosch... through articulate, transparent textures, he creates a wide range of musical emotion." A student of George Crumb, Richard Wernick, John Harbison, and Mario Davidovsky, Primosch has had works performed by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Collage, the New York New Music Ensemble, and the 21st Century Consort. Dawn Upshaw included a song by Primosch in her Carnegie Hall recital debut. Commissioned works by Primosch have been premiered by the Chicago Symphony, the Cantata Singers, and pianist Lambert Orkis. He is presently at work on a song cycle for soprano and orchestra on texts by former MacArthur fellow Susan Stewart.