Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Announces New Music Director

James Ross

Alexandria, VA— Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Trustees proudly announces that James Ross will be the ASO’s new Music Director. Following an extensive two-year search, Ross was selected from a pool of 170 applicants from around the world. As one of the four finalists, Ross programmed and conducted a concert weekend during the 2017-2018 Season, which garnered audience acclaim and praise from musicians in the orchestra.

“The ASO audiences and musicians were enthusiastic and thorough in giving feedback after each concert,” says ASO Board President Anne Best Rector. “A good part of the audience and almost all the musicians weighed in on each conductor’s performance and choice of program. Our community really embraced this process, so on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am thrilled to present such a stellar choice as our next artistic leader.”

“With one foot in a rich past and the other firmly planted in the future, the city of Alexandria is a creative hub where old and new come into engaged conversation with each other,” says new Music Director James Ross. “It is an honor for me to be charged with leading this great institution, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, into a vibrant future through adventurous orchestral music-making.”

James Ross is Orchestra Director of the National Youth Orchestra – USA at Carnegie Hall and is on the conducting faculty at the Juilliard School. Maestro Ross served as Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland at College Park for a distinguished 16-year tenure. He studied conducting with Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein.

Maestro Ross will conduct the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-2019 Season, launching in September and kicking off a year-long celebration commemorating the organization’s 75th Anniversary. Ross will make special appearances throughout the year with the orchestra and in tandem with other community events.


James Ross is presently Orchestra Director of the National Youth Orchestra USA at Carnegie Hall, Music Director of the Orquesta Simfonica del Valles in Barcelona, Spain, and conducting faculty at the Juilliard School at Lincoln Center. He recently finished a distinguished 16-year tenure as Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland at College Park.

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 KwaZuluNatal 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.

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