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. The most published performer/author in the world, he has written more than 35 books on all aspects of the choral art. He was described as a “visionary” by The Choral Journal, which cited his book Evoking Sound as a “must read.” His books form the canon for the teaching of conductors and choirs around the world. At Westminster Choir College he is professor and senior conductor and conducts Westminster Schola Cantorum and the internationally acclaimed Westminster Williamson Voices.
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.” Regarding the recording Annelies, Choir and Organ wrote, “Jordan’s instinctive understanding of the score makes this a profound and emotionally charged experience.” Reviews have praised the Westminster Williamson Voices as “without peer” (American Record Guide) noting that the ensemble “performed with utmost truth and precision,” and with “supreme artistry” (The Choral Journal), and “sing(s) with a precision and finesse normally found in the best of the UK’s large chamber choirs” (Gramophone). The Arvo Pärt Project has described the Westminster Williamson Voices under his direction as “coming into their own in the American choral scene both here and abroad.”
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 writings have shaped far-reaching changes in conducting pedagogy, and the teaching of rhythm applying Laban Effort/Shape to music teaching and conducting. In 2012, he received Rider University’s Iorio Research Prize. 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.
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 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 artistic 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 the Westminster Choral Institute at Oxford, a unique partnership with St. Stephen’s House, one of the Halls of Oxford University. Since its establishment, this program has established itself as one of world’s recognized programs for the teaching of artistry. Students at the Choral Institute live and study in England’s oldest university city, among its dreaming spires and cloistered quadrangles. They work with some of the world’s preeminent thinkers in choral and sacred music and experience first hand the treasures of a university for which choral music has been its lifeblood in an unbroken tradition lasting more than 600 years.
He 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 November 2014. In 2015, his landmark book Sound as Teacher will be published with GIA Publications.
Dr. Jordan’s lecture/teaching schedule and writings are detailed on his publisher’s website, http://www.giamusic.com/bios/jordan_james.cfm.