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James Jordan

james jordanWidely acknowledged as one of the most influential conductors in America, James Jordan has brought about far-reaching pedagogical and philosophical changes not only in choral music, but also in the worlds of orchestral conducting, wind conducting, piano, and music education. The Choral Journal has described his writings as “visionary.” Renowned American composer Morten Lauridsen dedicated the third movement of his Midwinter Songs to him. His conducting text, Evoking Sound, now in its second edition, has been names by The Choral Journal as one of the “must reads” for choral musicians.

One of the country’s leading choral artists, Dr. Jordan is Senior Conductor at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, one of the leading centers in the world for the study and performance of choral music in Princeton, New Jersey, where he founded and conducts The Westminster Williamson Voices and The Westminster Schola Cantorum, and teaches undergraduate and graduate choral conducting. Over thirty works have been premiered by the Westminster Williamson Voices, including the works of Mantyjaarvi, Custer, Ames, Hill, Whitbourn, Henson, and Wilberg. The Williamson Voices have achieved international recognition for their premieres of Annelies: The Life of Anne Frank in its chamber music version, and Luminosity, a work for multiple choirs, dancers and Viola solo by British composer James Whitbourn. The Williamson Voices has an extensive discography and has recorded over 40 works for the Teaching Music Through Performance series. Last season, the choir performed the Mozart Requiem with The Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Stewart, Conductor. The choir can be seen and heard on several pedagogical DVD’s, the most recent of which is The Empowered Rehearsal with Simon Carrington.

Dr. Jordan also conducts Anam Cara (www.anamcarachoir.com), a professional choral ensemble based in Philadelphia that has received critical acclaim for its recordings. The American Record Review wrote that Anam Cara “is a choir to please the fussiest choral connoisseur” and called their inaugural recording, Innisfree, “skillful and shining,” “glowing,” “supremely accomplished” with a “tone that produces a wide range of effects from vocal transparency to rich, full-throated glory.” His latest recording, Angels in the Architecture features the premiere recording of Blake Henson’s “My Flight for Heaven” was released by GIAChoralworks (Giamusic.com) and is available on Itunes. This coming season, both Schola Cantorum and the Williamson Voices will record The Son of God Mass and other choral music by James Whitbourn on the Naxos label. Dr. Jordan is Executive Editor of the Evoking Sound Choral Series (GIA), which now includes over One-hundred published works.

Dr. Jordan is also artistic director of The Westminster Vocal Institiute, a summer choral institute for high school students and is also the founder and director of the renowned Westminster Conducting Institute, one of the leading choral conductor training institutes in the world.

He teaches and delivers over thirty workshops and keynote addresses each year in addition to an extensive conducting and guest-conducting schedule. Among his most recent engagements were a residency at Houston Baptist University and appearances at the North Carolina American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Wisconsin Music Educators National Conference (MENC), Michigan ACDA, Pennsylvania/Delaware Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Chorus America, and Arizona ACDA, as well as presentations and workshops at The University of Buffalo, Vandercook College of Music, The University at North Texas, The University of Northern Colorado, The Gordon Institute for Music Learning, The United States Army School of Music, and The Curtis Institute. Last year, he conducted The US Army Soldier’s Chorus (Washington, D.C). Last season he conducted the Utah, Louisiana and Ohio All-State Choirs. He also gave the keynote address at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC for a meeting of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America. This year, in addition to conducting the Washington All-State Choir, he will be in residence at Hope College and The New England Conservatory, and lead sessions at the conventions of The North Carolina Music Educators, The Ohio Music Educators, The Louisiana Music Educators and the Colorado Music Educators Conference and the Freiburg Choral Conducting Seminars in Freiburg, Germany.

Through his over forty textbooks, DVD’s and recordings, Dr. Jordan is one of the country’s most prolific writers on the subjects of the philosophy of music making and choral teaching. His trilogy of books on the philosophy and spirituality of musicing—The Musician’s Soul, The Musician’s Walk, and The Musician’s Spirit—have made a deep and profound impact upon musicians and teachers around the world. His three latest books, Toward Center (2010) and The Musician’s Breath (2010) and Rehearse! (2010) continue his contributions to both the philosophical and pedagogical thought in the music teaching and conducting professions. Dr. Jordan’s lecture/teaching schedule and writings are detailed on his Web site (www.evokingsound.com) and his publisher’s Web site (www.giamusic.com/jordan). In 2009, Dr. Jordan was named as a panelist for The National Endowment for the Arts.