James Bagwell maintains an active international schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. In 2015 he was named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now while continuing his role as Principal Guest Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. From 2009–15 he was music director of The Collegiate Chorale; some of the highlights of his tenure with there include conducting a number of rarely performed operas-in-concert, including Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Rossini’s Moise et Pharaon, and, most recently, Boito’s Mefistofele. He conducted the New York premiere of Philip Glass’ Toltec Symphony and Osvaldo Golijov’s Oceana, both 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 this musical. Since 2011 he has collaborated with singer and composer Natalie Merchant, conducting a number of major orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco and Seattle Symphonies. Other recent performances in New York include conducting Philip Glass’ Another Look at Harmony at the Park Avenue Armory, and leading The Little Opera Theatre of New York’s production of Rossini’s Opportunity Makes the Thief. He has been guest conductor of The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Amici New York, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Mr. Bagwell has trained choruses for a number of major American and international orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, NHK Symphony (Japan), St. Petersburg Symphony, Budapest Festival Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He is Professor of Music and Director of Performance Studies at Bard College and Bard College Conservatory of Music.