B i o g r a p h y

​"Destined to make his mark in a highly competitive field in which many are called but few are chosen."

- John W. Lambert, The Spectator

"Ovation after ovation rang from the standing audience, growing louder and louder as the leading ballerinas came forward. But when the conductor was led onto the stage, the roar rivaled that of the music he had led."

- Kate Dobbs Ariail, Classical Voice of North Carolina


Hailed for his inventive programming and compelling interpretations, award-winning conductor, composer, and pianist James Allen Anderson continues to engage audiences worldwide with entertaining and thought-provoking performances. Praised for his conducting versatility, he is equally at home in both concert and stage production settings. Since 2011 he has served as the Director of Orchestral Activities and Music Director of the University of Delaware’s Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and Opera Theatre. Maestro Anderson continues to break new ground creating innovative programs such as the Delaware International Music Exchange (D.I.M.E.) project, the Creative Fusion Initiative (C.F.I.), and the University of Delaware’s Cinema Symphony Series. Trained as a conductor, composer and pianist, Anderson studied under esteemed maestros David Effron, Tonu Kalam, Pierre Hétu, and Otto-Werner Mueller, with composer Roger Hannay, and with pianists Michael Zenge and Francis Whang.

In previous positions Maestro Anderson has served as Music Director of the Butte Symphony Association, cover conductor of the North Carolina Symphony, and Director of Orchestral Activities at Appalachian State University and the University of Montana. He has held posts with the Eastman Opera Theatre, Triangle Opera (NC), Theater on the Ridge (NY), and the Pauper Players Theatre Company (NC). Additional affiliations include three summer seasons as resident conductor of the Master Players Festival Orchestra in Newark, Delaware and eight seasons as resident conductor of the Cannon Music Symphony and String Orchestras in Boone, North Carolina. He is in demand as a guest conductor, having worked with ensembles in North and South America, Europe and Asia.  Upcoming international guest conducting activities include performances with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva. He remains committed to a variety of outreach projects and is a frequent adjudicator and clinician on the national and international level.

His commitment to new music developed early in his career and led to collaborations with composers such as Joseph Schwantner, Augusta Read Thomas, Michael Daugherty, Libby Larsen, Stephen Paulus, David Liptak, George Walker, and Robert Moore. This commitment to new music endures with recent world premiere performances of works by Mark Hagerty (Beyond These Horizons), Robert Moran (Frammenti di un’opera barocca perduta and Star Charts and Travel Plans I), Joseph Vella (Concerto Grosso), William Harbinson (Of Fire and Ice), David Maslanka (11:11 A Dance at the Edge of the World; Symphony No. 6 “Living Earth”; A Child’s Garden of Dreams: Book 2) and Daniel Bukvich (The Glittering Hill).  Recordings are available under the Albany Records label.

Maestro Anderson and the UDSO were finalists in three separate categories in the 2016 American Prize: Orchestral Performance, Orchestral Conducting, and the Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award for Programming, winning 1st place in the final category. He was a finalist in the 2010 American Prize in Orchestral Conducting and Performance with the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra.  In 2005 he received the Mariam Cannon Hayes School of Music Outstanding Teaching Award.  He was selected by the American Symphony Orchestra League in 2003 to participate in the National Conductor Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony (FL). This program showcased eight conductors who had been “carefully chosen for their talent, accomplishments, and qualifications, who are ready to assume important professional conducting responsibilities with American orchestras.” In 2001, he competed in the first Vakhtang Jordania/New Millennium International Conducting Competition in Kharkov, Ukraine and was a third-round diploma laureate and major prize winner.


Having served 12 years on the board of directors of the Conductors Guild, including a term as president, he is now a member of the Advisory Council of that organization, which is devoted to the advancement of the art of conducting and to serving the artistic and professional needs of conductors worldwide.

Photo Credit: Kerry Harrison Photography

© 2012 by Classical Musician.

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