Professor, ConductingDirector, Orchestral Activities String Division
B.M. Harvard; Diploma in Orchestral Conducting, Curtis Institute; Artist Diploma, Berlin Academy of the Arts
James Ross is presently Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland, Associate Director of the Juilliard School Conducting program, and Orchestra Director of the National Youth Orchestra USA through Carnegie Hall. He is also music-director designate of the Orquesta Simfonica del Valles in Spain.
Ross has served as music director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, as assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and as William Christie’s assistant to Les Arts Florissants. He has conducted such diverse orchestras as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Utah Symphony, Les Arts Florissants, the Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica of Galicia, and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in side-by-side concerts. His principal conducting teachers were Kurt Masur, Otto-Werner Mueller, Seiji Ozawa, and Leonard Bernstein.
As a horn soloist, he has performed with such orchestras as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Leipzig Radio Orchestra, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus. When he was awarded Third Prize in the Munich International Horn Competition in 1978, he became the first American and one of the youngest competitors ever to do so. His performances and recordings as principal horn of the Gewandhaus, including the Strauss Four Last Songs with soprano Jessye Norman, helped him first gain international recognition as an artist.
As a teacher, Ross has served on the faculties of Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Haverford and Bryn Mawr colleges, and teaches conducting each summer at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz. He was Artistic Director of the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) from 2002-12 during which time his leadership served as an impetus for change in the orchestral landscape of the United States. He is internationally recognized for his work advancing the future of orchestras through cross-genre collaborations especially with choreographer and MacArthur “Genius grant” Fellow Liz Lerman, polymath designer-director Doug Fitch, and video artist Tim McLoraine with whom he shares a home and the parenthood of two wonderful dogs, Merryl and Paterson.
Ross is a native of Boston, a lover of all things Spanish, a committed questioner of concert rituals, a man who likes to move, and a believer in the meteoric impact of classical music on the lives of those it touches.