James Ross studied at London’s Southbank International School and won scholarships to Harrow School in London and Christ Church at Oxford University, where he studied Modern History as an undergraduate, then Music as a postgraduate; his doctorate on French Opera, Politics and the Press was awarded Oxford’s prestigious Sir Donald Tovey Prize. He studied violin, viola and singing, has extensive orchestral and chamber music experience, and was a 1998 BBC Philharmonic Conducting Competition finalist. Since then he has conducted in nineteen countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. UK performances include at The Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Symphony Hall Birmingham, state occasions in Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth II, and Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre, for whose 350th anniversary concert he conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
In the UK, he is music director of Sidcup Symphony Orchestra, Haslemere Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Welwyn Garden City Orchestra and Chorus and Bridgnorth Sinfonia, a director of Kent Sinfonia and Artistic Advisor of The Commonwealth Resounds. In this role he has conducted The Commonwealth Festival Orchestra for Heads of Government Meetings in the UK, Sri Lanka and Malta, also conducting concerts and tours in the UK, Turkey and Uganda with the Purcell and Chetham’s Schools, music colleges and Royal Over-Seas League.
He has conducted over 1,000 works including the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Dvořák, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Tchaikovsky, operas by Bizet, Britten, Janačék, Mozart, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi and Wagner, and many ballet scores. Singers with whom he has worked include Sir Thomas Allen, Janice Watson, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Olga Borodina, Danielle de Niese and the UK National Opera Studio.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, James Ross has produced more than 30 recordings for Ulysses Arts, conducted a televised concert broadcast and recording in Istanbul with the Büyükada Ensemble and in 2021 led the Ankara City Philharmonic Orchestra’s inaugural concert at the new Presidential Symphony Hall.