James Bagwell

With performances described as “triumphant” (Tulsa World) and “galvanizing” (New York Classical Review), James Bagwell maintains an active schedule as a conductor of choral, orchestral, and opera repertoire. He is Professor of Music and music program director at Bard College, and Director of Performance Studies in the Bard College Conservatory of Music. He serves as Co-Director of the Bard Conservatory Graduate Program in Conducting.

From 2009-2015 he served as music director of The Collegiate Chorale. Highlights with the Chorale included conducting rarely performed operas at Carnegie Hall, including Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Rossini’s Möise et Pharaon, and Boito’s Mefistofele. He conducted the New York premiere of Philip Glass’s Toltec Symphony and Osvaldo Golijov’s Oceana at Carnegie Hall. His performance of Kurt Weill’s Knickerbocker Holiday at Alice Tully Hall was recorded live for Gaslight Records and is the only complete recording of the work. Bagwell prepared the Chorale for numerous concerts at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland and for programs with the Israel Philharmonic in Israel and the Salzburg Festival.

Bagwell has trained choruses for other American and international orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, NHK Symphony (Japan), St. Petersburg Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and Indianapolis 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. With singer Natalie Merchant he has appeared with The National Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, among others. He has been a regular guest conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony and Tulsa Symphony. In 2015 Bagwell was named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TON), and in 2009 he was appointed principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. He has led both ensembles in concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.