British conductor James Judd is internationally acclaimed for his remarkable versatility, unique musicianship and charismatic presence on and off stage. Known for his exceptionally communicative style and compelling concerts, his regular performances in concert halls from Vienna to Tokyo attest to his excellent contact with audiences and musicians alike. He has conducted renowned orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and orchestras in Dallas, St. Louis, Baltimore and Montreal.
Judd is a prominent interpreter of British orchestral music and recorded Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 with the Halle Orchestra, which brought him wide recognition from Elgar admirers. He recorded extensively for the Naxos label during his eight years as Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and retains a close relationship with the orchestra as their Honorary Music Director. His recordings of works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Beethoven, Bernstein, Copland and Gershwin have been warmly received. He has conducted the works of Gustav Mahler on international stages and his recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 was awarded the Gold Medal by Diapason in France and the Toblacher Komponierhäuschen for Best Recording of the Year. Maestro Judd has also recorded extensively for Decca, EMI, Philips and Gramola.
Apart from his concert activities, James Judd has been a regular guest on the stages of the English National Opera, Wexford Festival and Glyndebourne Opera Festival, with productions of Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Rigoletto, The Barber of Seville, Le Nozze di Figaro and La Cenerentola. Between 1993 and 1996 he was Artistic Director of the Florida Grand Opera where he conducted productions of Don Giovanni, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Boheme, Madame Butterfly and others, as well as concert versions of Tannhäuser, Fidelio and La clemenza di Tito. He has recorded the complete opera works of Meyerbeer and Donizetti.
Following his music studies at London Trinity College he became Lorin Maazel’s assistant in Cleveland. After two years in the USA he returned to Europe where he became Executive Director of the European Community Youth Orchestra, whose Chief Conductor was Claudio Abbado. James Judd was Music Director of the Florida Philharmonic for fourteen years during which this ensemble became an orchestra of note. Thanks to the introduction of innovative programmes, the positive public response and support for its especially successful summer festival, the orchestra enjoyed significant artistic growth. Together with the Florida Philharmonic he recorded works of Walton, Bernstein and Mahler which received numerous awards.
His eight-year tenure as Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra time contributed immensely to the artistic development of the ensemble which gained recognition on international concert stages. Under his leadership the orchestra undertook its first concert tour of Europe, performing in renowned halls like the Concertgebouw and Royal Albert Hall.
Maestro Judd was Principal Guest Conductor with the Orchestre National de Lille and the Adelaide Symphony, and has held this position with the Asian Youth Orchestra, composed of the most gifted young musicians from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea. In September 2016 he was appointed Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea. Maestro Judd is the Music Director of the Little Orchestra Society of New York, which features concert programmes devised especially for children and young audiences, and until January 2017 he also held the position of Music Director of the Israel Symphony Orchestra.
In 2008 he founded the Miami Music Project in Southern Florida which received generous support from the John and James Knight Foundation for the enhancement of education and training, providing performing opportunities for hundreds of children from different social backgrounds and underprivileged communities in the city. The Miami Music Project, inspired by the Venezuelan model El Sistema, opened a music academy for teaching in the Miami communities Doral and Little Haiti and plans to open another academy in Little Havana and Liberty City. Talented young musicians are given the opportunity of studying and performing orchestral works with the Miami Youth Orchestra.
In recent concert seasons James Judd has worked with, among others, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic, Kyoto Symphony, the Metropolitan Orchestra of Tokyo, Slovenian National Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, and performed Britten’s War Requiem with the Romanian Radio Orchestra at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest, and most recently in Daejeon, where he has been Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra since September 2016, to commemorate 65th anniversary of ending of the Korean War. Other highlights include a series of concerts in Switzerland with the Argovia Philharmonic, three concerts in Berlin as part of the celebrations in the famous Konzerthaus of Yehudi Menuhin’s centenary, two tours to China and two concerts with the Vienna Concert Verein in the inaugural month of the magnificent new Dubai Opera, as well as in the Musikverein.
In 2016 and 2017 he conducted the opening concerts of the Slovak Philharmonic in the Bratislava Music Festival. James Judd became Chief Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra from the 2017/2018 concert season, conducting seven pairs of subscription concerts. In June 2018, together with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and the Slovak Philharmonic Choir, he led the closing concert of the Prague Spring festival dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Czechoslovak republic. He will conduct the opening concert of the Bratislava Music Festival 2018.