The American conductor and composer, Julian (James) Wachner, began his musical studies with Gerre Hancock at the Choir School of St. Thomas Church in New York City. He attended Boston University's School for the Arts where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition and orchestral conducting. His teachers there included Theodore Antonious, David Hoose, Marjorie Merryman, and Lukas Foss, who has described him as a "champion of new music... an enormously talented composer... whose vision and talent will invigorate the musical world." His additional studies, at Tanglewood and Sandpoint, have been with George Perle, Donald Erb and Gunther Schuller.
Since his debut with the Boston Bach Ensemble in 1995, Julian Wachner has risen to become one of New England's leading musical personalities. Names "one of the most admired conductors of the yeat" by the Boston Globe in 1999, Wachner is currently musical director of The Back Bay Chorale, artistic director of The Providence Singers, and founding music director of the Boston Bach Ensemble, a period-instrument baroque orchestra and professional vocal ensemble. Guest conducting appearances include those with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, the Brown University and Boston University Symphony Orchestras, the Young Artists' Orchestra of the Tanglewood Music Center, the Boston Academy of Music and ALEA III. In addition to his active conducting life, Wachner is also professor of sacred music at Boston University's School of Theology and music director of Boston University's Marsh Chapel, a post he was awarded at the age of twenty. He also serves as visiting lecturer in music composition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A prolific composer, as well, Julian Wachner's original compositions have been praised for their "unabashed emotionalism and showy orchestration" by the Boston Globe. As a composer whose idiom clearly lies within the post modern school, Wachner's music manages to be accessible; and despite the kaleidoscopic qualitity of its tonality, the listener is always engaged by the narrative drive of the music and the rhetorical devices that sustain it. He has been commissioned and performed by numerous organizations throughout the USA and Europe and is the recipient of many awards and honors including grants from ASCAP and Meet the Composer Inc. He most recently accepted a commission from the Boston Cecilia for a thirty-minute work for chorus and orchestra on a text by poet Carl Phillips.
Julian Wachner is also an active concert organists, award-winning improvisateur, and Fellow of the American Guild of Organists.