In 2000 James Ross was invited by the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka to judge its biannual concerto competition together with pianist and Julliard professor Rohan de Silva. After judging the Competition, he coached numerous competitors and returned in 2001 to guest conduct the Orchestra. Since then he has visited regularly to conduct SOSL, and has advised on planning and artistic development. He takes a long-term interest in the Country, its musicians and its cultural development, and has experienced first hand the resilience, ambition and determination of its orchestra members and up and coming musicians to improve and expand their knowledge and skill.
In 2013, he conducted the first orchestral concert at Colombo's Nelum Pokuna Theatre, at The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, with music by Shostakovich, Holst, Bruch, Tchaikovsky, finishing with traditional Sri Lankan song Danno Badunge - live recording below: