James John is in his ninth season as Artistic Director of Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble. He is also Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College-CUNY, where he conducts the Queens College Choir, Vocal Ensemble and Choral Society, teaches choral conducting, and serves as advisor to the graduate program in vocal performance. Recent professional highlights include guest conducting the Tokyo Oratorio Society in performances of Brahms’s Ein deutches Requiem and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, and an invited performance by the Queens College Choir at the 2012 Eastern Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Providence, Rhode Island.
Under Dr. John’s leadership the choral program at the Aaron Copland School of Music has become recognized as one of the finest collegiate choral programs in the region. Past performances with the School of Music’s choral ensembles include Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s B Minor Mass, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, award winning productions of Argento’s Postcard from Morocco and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Requiems by Mozart and Verdi, “A Night at the Opera” with Queens College alumna Erika Sunnegårdh of the Metropolitan Opera, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, and world premieres of works by Sidney Boquiren, Leo Kraft, Meg Collins Stoop and others. His choirs have performed in many of New York’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity Church Wall Street. Under his direction the Queens College Vocal Ensemble released its first CD, featuring premiere recordings of partsongs by Scottish composer Hamish MacCunn, and the Queens College Choir recorded Bright Sheng’s Two Folksongs from Qinghai, to be released on the Naxos label.
Dr. John’s guest conducting appearances include Avery Fisher Hall’s annual Messiah Sing-In, a concert of American choral music with the Virginia Chorale (Virginia’s only professional choral ensemble), chorus master for the Queens Symphony, regional honor choirs throughout New York State, and a recording with jazz trumpeter Michael Mossman. He has given presentations at both divisional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, and is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States.
As a teacher and scholar, Dr. John has served as Guest Lecturer in conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, and presented seminars on American choral music in Basel and Stockholm. His dissertation on Brahms’s Nänie, Op. 82 won the Julius Herford Prize from the American Choral Directors Association and will be published in revised form as a book by The Edwin Mellen Press. His articles have appeared in Choral Journal, American Choral Review, and Chorus America’s Research Memorandum Series. In July 2011 he was appointed Editor of American Choral Review, and has also served as a member of ACDA’s National Research and Publications Committee.
Dr. John received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the Eastman School of Music. Prior to his current position at the Aaron Copland School of Music he served as Director of Choral Activities at Tufts University in Boston, Director of Choral Activities at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY, and as Dartmouth College’s first Conducting Fellow. He received his Master of Arts in Conducting from the Aaron Copland School of Music.