James Ross, conductor
James Ross studied at London’s Southbank International School and won scholarships to Harrow School in London and Christ Church, Oxford University, where he studied Modern History and Music: his doctorate on French Opera, Politics and the Press was awarded the Sir Donald Tovey Prize. Training first as a violinist and studying singing, he was a 1998 BBC Philharmonic Conducting Competition finalist; since then he has conducted in nineteen countries throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. In the UK he has performed at The Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, St John’s Smith Square, at Westminster Abbey for HM Queen Elizabeth II, Symphony Hall Birmingham, and the Sheldonian Theatre Oxford, where he conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for its 350th anniversary concert. James Ross has been SSO's Music Director since 2007, and in the same region, is also a director of Kent Sinfonia. In the UK he is also music director of King's College London Symphony Orchestra, Haslemere Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Welwyn Garden City Orchestra and Chorus, and Bridgnorth Sinfonia, and regularly guest conducts the London Repertoire Orchestra and Cheltenham Chamber Orchestra.
Amongst over 1,000 works conducted are the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann and Tchaikovsky, operas by Bizet, Britten, Janačék, Mozart, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi and Wagner, and ballet scores by Bartók, Debussy, Glazunov, Ravel, Roussel, Satie and Stravinsky. Singers with whom he has worked include Sir Thomas Allen, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Olga Borodina, Danielle de Niese and the UK National Opera Studio. Numerous first performances include concerts in collaboration with City of London Sinfonia and the UK Arts Council, and at London’s Saatchi Gallery with Philharmonia Orchestra members. Projects include working on Longborough Festival Opera’s Ring cycle, conducting at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, Malta and London in collaboration with Purcell and Chetham’s Schools, Royal Academy of Music and Royal Over-Seas League, conducting at the Piccolo Teatro Milano, and for New York's Center for Contemporary Opera. In 2018 he led a tour by The Purcell School and members of the Turkish National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra to Istanbul's Islands, returning in 2019 to conduct a concert for Istanbul Biennial, and a televised broadcast in 2020. In 2021 he led the inaugural performance of the Ankara City Philharmonic Orchestra at the new Presidential Symphony Orchestra hall.
James Ross advises music institutions globally as a director of Ulysses Arts, which offers strategic and artistic advice, label services and due diligence to venues, orchestras, soloists and record companies. Clients include Apple Music/iTunes, Deutsche Grammophon, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, L’Orchestre de Paris, L'Orchestre national de Lille, Bureau Export, New York’s 21C Media Group and Julliard School of Music, Meyer Sound Laboratories in California, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and Bonnier Publishing. During the COVID Pandemic he produced more than 30 recordings for Ulysses Arts.
As a guest speaker on music, James Ross has been invited to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France; he has taught at Oxford University and contributed to books and journals. During his career, he has helped raise over £1 million performing for charities, including conducting English National Ballet at the London Guildhall in aid of Save The Children’s work with refugees from Syria. In 2024 he will be conducting for an album of previously unrecorded music by Vaughan Williams and Francis Jackson with Kent Sinfonia for Albion Records.
Complete repertoire, concert details, publications and press reviews are at www.james-ross.com.
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