‘On a balmy summer evening the music making proved even hotter than the surroundings… this was an outing of brilliance, unanimity, finesse and clarity… a performance of full-toned distinction, Ham conjuring an account of imagination and individuality’.
British conductor James Ham enjoys a growing reputation across the orchestral, opera and ballet repertoire for his versatility, wealth of ideas, and genuine music making. Performances in the 2021-22 season include a 20-performance tour of THE NUTCRACKER with Scottish Ballet, THE GREAT GATSBY with Northern Ballet, the Oscar Straus’ rarity THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER with Opera della Luna, a third visit to the Gibraltar Philharmonic and projects with Vladimir Jurowski and Edward Gardner as an assistant-conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Recent performances include concerts with the Magdeburgische Philharmonie, Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Ensemble Modern Akademie, and education concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently conductor of the London Orchestra Project, a chamber orchestra featuring some of the UK’s finest orchestral players, which he co-founded along with the leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Operatic engagement include productions of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, EUGENE ONEGIN, IL TABARRO and TOSCA. In 2020, he was Studienleiter and Assistant Conductor to Wayne Marshall for productions of PORGY AND BESS at the Theater an der Wien, and on RIGOLETTO at the Gärtnerplatztheater. As a former Conducting Fellow with Birmingham Royal Ballet, he conducted several performances of THE NUTCRACKER, COPPÉLIA and THE GRAND TOUR both in Birmingham and on tour.
His formative training was at the St Petersburg Conservatory and UdK Berlin, establishing his interest in German and Russian music from the 19th and 20th centuries, along with that of central Europe. Ham also has a keen interest in contemporary music, based on his specialist training as a conductor with the London Sinfonietta Academy, Ensemble Modern Akademie, and Lucerne Festival Academy, where he was Conducting Fellow in 2016.
Ham has assisted Vladimir Jurowski and Edward Gardner with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Karel Mark Chichon with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie on several occasions. Other conductors he has assisted include Sir Mark Elder and Martin André. During his studies, he was selected to participate in international masterclasses with Alan Gilbert, Susanna Mälkki, and Sir Colin Davis, conducting orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.