James M. Jordan
GRAMMY®-nominated conductor James Jordan is recognized and praised around the musical world as one of America’s pre-eminent conductors, writers and innovators in choral music. He was described as a “visionary” by The Choral Journal, which cited his book Evoking Sound as a “must read.” The most published musician/author in the world, his 35 books form the canon for teaching of conductors and choirs world wide. At Westminster Choir College he is professor and senior conductor, and conducts Westminster Schola Cantorum and the internationally acclaimed Westminster Williamson Voices.
Dr. Jordan has studied with the legendary conductors and scholars of the past 40 years, including Elaine Brown, Wilhelm Ehmann, Frauke Haasemann, Volker Hempfling and the renowned music psychologist Edwin Gordon. His career as a conductor began as a finalist in the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy.
He has made two recordings of the music of James Whitbourn with the Westminster Williamson Voices on the Naxos label, which have garnered wide critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Gramophone hailed him as a conductor of “forceful and intimate choral artistry,” and regarding the GRAMMY-nominated recording of Annelies, Choir and Organ wrote, “Jordan’s instinctive understanding of the score makes this a profound and emotionally charged experience.” The Westminster Williamson Voices has been acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic by reviewers and composers alike for its compelling sound and artistry. A friend to many of the world’s leading composers, Dr. Jordan has premiered more than 40 choral works by the world’s leading composers, among them Jaakko Mantyjaarvi, Blake Henson, Gerald Custer, Thomas LaVoy, Cortlandt Matthews, Dan Forrest, Paul Mealor, Dan Forrest and James Whitbourn.
Dr. Jordan’s career and publications have been devoted to innovative educational changes in the choral art, which have been embraced around the world. His research and writings have shaped far-reaching changes in the philosophy of music teaching and learning, conducting pedagogy, and the teaching of rhythm applying Laban Effort/Shape to both music teaching and conducting pedagogy. In 2012, he received the Iorio Research Prize from Rider University. His exclusive publisher is GIA Music (Giamusic.com), Chicago. He is executive editor of the Evoking Sound Choral Series (GIA), whose extensive catalog of almost 200 works stands as among the largest and most comprehensive choral series in world. The most recent publications, Discovering Chant, Sound as Teacher and The Musician’s Breath have received wide critical acclaim. This year, Dr. Jordan will publish the only application of Gordon Music Learning Theory, Inside the Choral Rehearsal, a comprehensive 500 page text on all aspects of choral ensemble teaching and learning.
His residencies, master classes and guest conducting have taken him throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Among the institutions where he has taught master classes are The Curtis Institute, Rhoades College, the University at North Texas, the University of Buffalo, Temple University, the University of Arizona, the University of Aberdeen, the Gordon Gesellschaft Duetschland and the U.S. Army Soldiers Chorus. He has conducted more than 30 all-state choirs, and in 2009 he was named to the choral panel for The National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Jordan serves as director of the Westminster Conducting Institute, one of the nation’s leading summer programs for the training and education of conductors. In the summer of 2013 he inaugurated, with Co-Director James Whitbourn, the Westminster Choral Institute at Oxford, a unique partnership with St. Stephen’s House, one of the Halls of Oxford University. Since its establishment in 2013, this program has quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading programs for the teaching of choral artistry to choral conductors.
This year, Dr. Jordan will make his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Stabat Mater of Paul Mealor in addition to premiering Mealor’s Symphony No. 1 at St. Machar’s Cathedral in Aberdeen Scotland. Dr. Jordan has been honored as a distinguished alumnus at both Susquehanna University and Temple University. He was awarded the distinguished Doctor of Music by the University of Aberdeen in Scotland in 2014 to honor his artistry and contributions to choral music throughout the world. The University, established in 1485, has awarded degrees throughout its history to only two Americans: Dr. Jordan and Morten Lauridsen. He also shares this honor with Gustav Holst, Benjamin Britten and Dame Joan Sutherland.
Dr. Jordan’s lecture/teaching schedule and writings are detailed on his publisher’s website, http://giamusic.com/jordan.