James Romeo (1955–2002), chair of theory and composition for NEC’s Preparatory School during the 1980s, died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in December 2002. He composed for everything from a Las Vegas magic show to film, and in later years had shifted his focus to directing religious music. An advocate of combining technology with composition, he is believed to have been the first person to replace a pit orchestra with MIDI sequencers and synths. He coauthored the documentation for the first version of the Finale composition software system, and was a pioneer in marketing royalty-free MIDI files of original and public-domain music, including Classical MIDI Jukebox.
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