James Ross takes over as the new Music Director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra as it celebrates its 75th anniversary, bringing with him an extensive portfolio of international experience, musical connections, and joy. He presently conducts the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès in Catalonia, Spain, is a member of the conducting faculty at the Juilliard School at Lincoln Center, and is Orchestra Director of the National Youth Orchestra USA at Carnegie Hall. He just completed a vital 16-year tenure as Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland, where he became known for his ground-breaking performances.
Maestro Ross has conducted such diverse orchestras as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Utah Symphony, Les Arts Florissants, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in side-by-side concerts. He has served as Music Director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra and Assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 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, 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 Strauss’ Four Last Songs with soprano Jessye Norman, helped him gain international recognition as an artist.
As a teacher, Maestro Ross has served on the faculties of Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Haverford and Bryn Mawr colleges, and taught conducting for four summers at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz. He was Artistic Director of the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) at the University of Maryland from 2002-2012 where his leadership helped 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 MacArthur Fellow Liz Lerman, polymath designer-director Doug Fitch, and video artist Tim McLoraine.
Maestro 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 firm believer in the ongoing humanizing impact of classical music on the lives of those it touches.