Alexandria Symphony Orchestra names new music director

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra names new music director
James E. Ross (Courtesy photo)

By Michaela Gleeson |

James Ross has been chosen as the new music director and conductor for the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra following a two year vacancy in the role.

By April of this year, the ASO had narrowed its choice of candidates for the director position from a sizable pool of 170 to just four. A rigorous screening awaited these four candidates – Michael Rossi, José-Luis Novo, Nicholas Hersh and James Ross – in which they were each given time to prepare and conduct a concert with the orchestra during the 2017-18 season. The orchestra received upwards of 1,500 survey responses from orchestra members, faculty and the audience in regards to the performance of each potential director.

“The ASO audiences and musicians were enthusiastic and thorough in giving feedback after each concert,” ASO Board President Anne Best Rector said in a statement.  “A good part of the audience and almost all the musicians weighed in on each conductor’s performance and choice of program. Our community really embraced this process, so on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am thrilled to present such a stellar choice as our next artistic leader.”

Ross was the second candidate to perform with the orchestra in October. His selection, “Britten & Brahms”, signed off with Symphony No. 3 by German composer Johannes Brahms. It was well received by the viewers in the audience and Ross was described as “having a mature interpretation of the music and clarity as a conductor” by a longtime orchestra musician.

Although Ross hails from Boston, he has credentials from all around the globe. Forty years ago, at the prestigious Munich International Horn Competition, Ross became the first American to win third prize. He has since amassed an international reputation as teacher, conductor and principal horn of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. His illustrious career as a teacher includes stints at Yale University, Curtis Institute of Music and Haverford College. Ross also has a myriad of experience as a conductor, working with orchestras such as the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

James Ross is just in time to lead the 2018-19 season, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.