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December, 19, 2015
11:15 AM - 12:30 PM






James E. Ross



Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

Since 1919, young artists have sought membership in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago to develop their talents and to further prepare for careers as professional musicians. Founded by Frederick Stock, second music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra is the only training orchestra of its kind affiliated with a major American orchestra. The Civic Orchestra offers promising young professional musicians unique access to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) through hands-on training experiences with the musicians of the CSO and some of today’s most sought-after conductors, including world-renowned CSO music director Riccardo Muti. Under the guidance of principal conductor Cliff Colnot and CSO Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma, Civic Orchestra musicians develop as exceptional orchestral players and engaged artists, cultivating their ability to succeed in the rapidly evolving world of music in the twenty-first century. The importance of the Civic Orchestra’s role in greater Chicago is underscored by its commitment to present concerts of the highest quality at no charge to the public. In addition to the critically acclaimed live concerts at Symphony Center, Civic Orchestra performances can be heard locally on WFMT (98.7 FM) and by nearly three million listeners in nationally syndicated radio broadcasts on 160 broadcast outlets in thirty states. These are made possible through a generous gift from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. Since 1997, the Civic Orchestra has provided its members opportunities to develop as teachers, advocates, and ambassadors the power of music to contribute to our culture, our communities, and the lives of others. The Civic musicians expand their creative, professional, and artistic boundaries through educational performances at Chicago Public Schools and a series of innovative chamber concerts at various locations throughout the city including Chicago Park District field houses, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and Zhou B Art Center. To further expand its musician training, the Civic Orchestra launched a new Fellowship program in the 2013–14 season. It engages eight members of the Civic Orchestra, identified as Civic Fellows, in a rigorous curriculum above and beyond their orchestral activities designed to build and diversify their creative and professional skills. The Civic Orchestra’s long history of presenting full orchestra performances without charge includes concerts at the South Shore Cultural Center (in partnership with the South Shore Advisory Council), the Apostolic Church of God, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, and the New Regal Theater. The Civic Orchestra is a signature program of the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Negaunee Institute offers a wide range of youth, community, and education programs that engage more than 200,000 people of diverse ages, incomes, and backgrounds. Through the programs of the Institute as well as projects at schools and community venues that are initiated by CSO musicians and a free annual concert with Riccardo Muti and the CSO, the CSO champions the extraordinary power of music to create connections and build community. For more information on the Institute and its programs, please visit Photo Credit: Todd Rosenberg

Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Conductor's Bio

James Ross is presently is Professor and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Maryland College Park, Conducting Faculty at the Juilliard School, and Orchestra Director of the National Youth Orchestra USA at Carnegie Hall. Ross has served as Music Director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, Assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and as William Christie’s assistant to Les Arts Florissants and at Glyndebourne. He has conducted such diverse orchestras as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Utah Symphony, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Orquesta Ciudad Granada, the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica of Galicia, the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in side-by-side concerts. His principal conducting teachers are Kurt Masur, Otto-Werner Mueller, Seiji Ozawa, and Leonard Bernstein whose hidden influence on him has only grown since their contact at Tanglewood and at Harvard. 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 the Strauss Four Last Songs with soprano Jessye Norman, helped him gain international recognition as an artist. As a teacher, Ross has served on the faculties of Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Haverford and Bryn Mawr colleges, and as a guest artist at the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, Japan. He also teaches conducting each summer at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz and was Artistic Director of the National Orchestral Institute (NOI) from 2002-2012 where his leadership helped to animate 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 and MacArthur “Genius grant” Fellow Liz Lerman (Debussy Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faune and Copland Appalachian Spring), polymath designer-director Doug Fitch (Britten Les Illuminations and Stravinsky Project Petrushka), and video artist Tim McLoraine (Adams Harmonielehre and Bartok Miraculous Mandarin) with whom Jim also shares a home and the parenthood of two wonderful dogs, Merryl and Paterson. 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 believer in the meteoric impact of classical music on the lives of those it touches.