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James Bagwell (Choral Conductor)

Born: January 4, 1966 - Birmingham, Alabama, USA

The American choral conductor and musicologist, James Daniel Bagwell, obtained his Bachelor of Music Education degree in Piano from Birmingham-Southern College (1988), his Master of Music Education degree in Choral Conducting (1990) from and Master of Music in Musicology (American Music) (1991) from Florida State University; and his Doctor of Music in Choral Conducting (Minor Fields: Music Literature and History/Twentieth Century Cultural Studies) from Indiana University (1999). In 1985 he was winner of Alys Stephenson Piano Competition.

James Bagwell maintains an active schedule throughout the USA as a conductor of choral, operatic and orchestral music. He was a member of Robert Shaw Festival Singers in Soulliac, France (1988); Conductior of Women's Glee Club at Florida State University (1989-1990); Founder Director of United Staes Music Ensemble at Florida State University (1990-1991). His appointements have included: Assistant Conductor of Asheville Symphony Chorus in Asheville, North Carolina (1991-1993); Director of Music at the Asheville School (1991-1993); Founder and Conductor of Indianapolis Chamber Singers (1996-2000); Assistant Conductor of Indianapolis Symphonic Choir (1996-1998); Assistant Director of Choruses at Cincinnati May Festival (1997-1998); Artistic Director and Conductor of Indianapolis Symphonic Choir (1998-2000); Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Advisor of Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Indianapolis Chamber Singers (2000-2001); Founder and Artistic Director of Voices United Arts Camp in Indianapolis, Indiana (1999-2002).

In 2009 he was appointed Music Director of The Collegiate Chorale and led them in concerts at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall during the 2009-2010 season. He was also named Principal Guest Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York. Since 2003 he has been Director of Choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at the 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, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mostly Mozart Festival (broadcast nationally in 2006 on Live from Lincoln Center) - all in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. From 2005 to 2010 he was Music Director of The Dessoff Choirs in New York, which under his leadership made numerous appearances at Carnegie Hall in addition to their regular season. In 2009 The Dessoff Symphonic Choir appeared with The New York Philharmonic Orchestra performing both Gustav Mahlerís Symphony No. 8 and Benjamin Brittenís War Requiem for Lorin Maazelís final concerts as Music Director. In summer 2010 he led a production the rarely performed operetta The Chocolate Soldier for Bardís SummerScape in addition to marking his fifth season as chorus master for The Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. Some of the highlights of the 2010-2011 season included him conducting Johannes Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem at Carnegie Hall, and a rare performance of Kurt Weillís Knickerbocker Holiday at Alice Tully Hall. In July 2011, The Collegiate Chorale appeared in three concerts at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.

James Bagwell has trained choruses for a number of major American and International orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Symphony (Japan), St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with noted conductors such 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 twelve seasons (since 1996), James Bagwell has been Music Director for the May Festival Youth Choir in Cincinnati, which was recently featured on the radio program From the Top. Since 2000, he has conducted some 25 productions as Music Director of Light Opera Oklahoma in Tulsa, including Candide, Sweeney Todd, and The Merry Widow, among others. At Bard SummerScape he has lead various theatrical works, most notably The Tender Land, which received glowing praise from The New York Times, The 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 the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. In addidtion he served as Music Director of Cappella Festiva Orch. and Chorus in Poughkeepsie, New York (2001-2003), Acting Choral Director (2002-2003) and Choral Music Director (2005) of Berkshire Bach Society in in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

James Bagwell has taught since 2000 at Bard College in Annandale-on Hudson, where he is the chair of the undergraduate music department and co-director of the graduate program in conducting. Publications: The National Sacred Harp Foundation Archives Transcriptions of Unpublished Manuscripts and Documents (1991)

Source: James Bagwell Website; International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); Photos 01-04: Erin Baiano
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2015)

James Bagwell: Short Biography | Berkshire Bach Singers | Recordings of Vocal Works

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Thoma Hilbish


BWV 232

Links to other Sites

James Bagwell - Conductor (Official Website)


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