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James Bagwell Bio


Conductor James Bagwell is the Music Director of the Collegiate Chorale. He also serves as 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 annual summer festival. In August 2010, he led a production of the rarely performed operetta The Chocolate Soldier for Bard's SummerScape; in August 2011, he conducted Noel Coward’s Bitter Sweet there and returned for his sixth season as chorus master for The Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. He has trained choruses for a number of major American and international orchestras and 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 Fleischer, and Robert Shaw.

For 15 seasons, James Bagwell has been Music Director for the May Festival Youth Choir in Cincinnati, which has been featured on the syndicated NPR radio program “From the Top.” He conducted some 25 productions as Music Director of Light Opera Oklahoma, including Candide, Sweeney Todd and The Merry Widow, among others. He maintains an active schedule throughout the United States and abroad as a choral, operatic, and orchestral conductor for such groups as the Jerusalem Symphony, Amici New York, Tulsa Symphony and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. For three seasons, he was Artistic Director of The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. From 2005 to 2009, he was Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York.

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 Chair of the Undergraduate Music Department, as well as Co-Director of the Graduate Program in Conducting.