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Conductor James Ross won scholarships to Harrow School and to Christ Church at Oxford University. There he studied history and music, writing a doctorate on French opera under Roger Parker and winning the Sir Donald Tovey Prize. He was a finalist in the 1998 BBC Philharmonic Orchestra Conducting Competition; since then he has conducted in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka and the USA, and gave his first concert in Bulgaria with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and National Choir in 2011. He is Music Director of Sidcup Symphony Orchestra in south London, Oxford’s Christ Church Festival Orchestra, The Oxford Opera Company, Haslemere Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Welwyn Garden City Orchestra and Chorus and Bridgnorth Sinfonia, and Artistic Advisor to The Commonwealth Resounds. Previous positions include with St Albans Symphony Orchestra, of which he is Vice-President, and Oxford University Sinfonietta. He has performed in leading UK venues including Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Westminster Abbey and St. John's Smith Square, London, and the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, including Beethoven's 9th for its 350th anniverary concert.
He has conducted over 900 works, ranging from the Baroque, most core symphonic and choral repertoire, to contemporary music by Boulez, Ligeti, Stockhausen and many more. With soloists he has accompanied works including Mahler, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Sir Thomas Allen, concertos with BBC Young Musician of the Year Guy Johnston, and concerts with UK National Opera Studio singers. Major 20th-Century works include Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring; Schoenberg, Pierrot Lunaire; Janáček, Sinfonietta and Bartók, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. He has also conducted much specialist French music and has a strong interest in contemporary music, including recording studio and film work. Numerous first performances including New Music Days with Roxanna Panufnik, Paul Patterson and members of the City of London Sinfonia supported by the Arts Council, and at London's Saatchi Gallery, including with Philharmonia Orchestra members. In 2013 he conducted the first orchestral concert at Colombo's new Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Sri Lanka, and is preparing a music programme for the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in Malta.
James Ross started his opera career in 1996 assisting on Bernard Haitink’s Don Carlos recording with The Royal Opera; since then he has conducted operas ranging from Mozart to Britten, and in 2013 was on the music staff for Longborough Festival Opera's production of Wagner's Ring Cycle. He has studied with conductors from a great range of musical traditions including Tsung Yeh (USA and China), Zdenĕk Bílek (Czech Republic and Slovakia), Victor Feldbrill (Canada), Ernst Schelle (Switzerland), Michael Charry (USA) and the late Alan Hazeldine (UK); he has also received advice from Bernard Haitink, Paul Daniel, Peter Donohoe, Sir David Willcocks and the late Sir Charles Mackerras. He is a frequent guest speaker, including at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the Purcell School of Music; he has taught at Oxford University and contributed to Music and Letters, Opera, English Historical Review, Musical Times and books including Vincent d'Indy et son temps, French Music Since Berlioz and French Music, Nationalism and Culture.
James Ross has helped raise over £1,000,000 through concert-giving for charities including Whizz-Kidz, Addaction, Rethink, The Fund for Epilepsy, NSPCC, Response International, UNICEF, Sunera Foundation of Sri Lanka and Oxfam. In May 2012, he presented a concert in aid of the Sunera Foundation and the UK-Sri Lanka Traumi Group with Danielle de Niese and Rohan de Silva at St John's Smith Square, London, and in 2013 conducted with English National Ballet in aid of Save The Children.
He is a member of the Performers and Composers Section of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (UK), the Conductors Guild (USA) and League of American Orchestras. He is also a director of strategic music consultancy Ulysses Arts.
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