James Bagwell maintains an active schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music throughout the United States. In 2009 he was appointed music director of the Collegiate Chorale, which appeared in New York City concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall during the 2009–2010 season, and principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. Since 2003 he has been director of choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. He has also prepared the Concert Chorale of New York for performances with the American Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Mostly Mozart Festival (broadcast nationally in 2006 on Live from Lincoln Center), all in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Since 2005 he has been music director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York, which under his leadership have made numerous appearances at Carnegie Hall, in addition to their regular season performances in various locations throughout New York City. In 2009 the Dessoff Symphonic Choir appeared with the New York Philharmonic, performing Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and Britten’s War Requiem
for Lorin Maazel’s final concerts as music director.
James Bagwell has trained choruses for a number of major American and international orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, NHK Symphony (Japan), St. Petersburg Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with such noted conductors as Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Leon Botstein, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Raymond Leppard, James Conlon, Jesús López-Cobos, Erich Kunzel, Leon Fleisher, and Robert Shaw.
For 11 seasons he has been music director of the May Festival Youth Chorus in Cincinnati, which was featured on the NPR program From the Top
. He has conducted some 25 productions as music director of Light Opera Oklahoma, including Candide
, Sweeney Todd
, and The Merry Widow
. At Bard SummerScape, he has led various theatrical works, most notably The Tender Land
, which received glowing praise from the New York Times
, New Yorker
, and Opera News
. He frequently appears as guest conductor for orchestras around the country and abroad, including the Jerusalem Symphony, Tulsa Symphony, and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. For three seasons he was artistic director of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. He holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College, Florida State University, and Indiana University. Since 2000 he has taught at Bard College, where he is professor of music and director of the Music Program.