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Conductor James Ross won scholarships to Harrow School in London and to Christ Church at Oxford University. There he studied history, a master's degree in music and a doctorate on French opera under Roger Parker, 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. Previous positions include with St Albans Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now a Vice-President, and Oxford University Sinfonietta. He has performed in leading UK concert halls, including Symphony Hall, Birmingham, St. John's Smith Square, London, and the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, and conducted the 2013 Westminster Abbey annual Commonwealth Day Service with musicians from Chetham's School of Music, Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
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. Accompanying highlights include Mahler, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Sir Thomas Allen, several concertos with BBC Young Musician of the Year Guy Johnston, and concerts with UK National Opera Studio members. Major 20th-Century works performed 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 of England, and at The Saatchi Gallery, London, most recently in March 2013, with members of The Philharmonia Orchestra. Recent and current projects include on the music staff for Longborough Festival Opera's production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, the cultural programme for Art International Istanbul in September 2013 at the The Haliç Congress Centre, Turkey's largest performing venue, and the Commonwealth International Music Festival in Sri Lanka in November 2013, including the first orchestral concert at Colombo's new Nelum Pokuna Theatre.
In 1996 James Ross assisted on Bernard Haitink’s Don Carlos recording with The Royal Opera, London; since then he has conducted operas ranging from Mozart to Britten. 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 £150,000 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 November 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), of the Conductors Guild (USA) and League of American Orchestras.
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