British conductor James Judd is internationally celebrated for his consummate musicianship, remarkable versatility and deep commitment to the orchestras and musicians with whom he shares the stage.
Music Director of South Korea´s Daejeon Philharmonic and Music Director Emeritus of the New Zealand Symphony, his dynamic music making and exceptionally communicative style have made him a sought after podium figure around the world, while regular return engagements attest to his gift for establishing inspiring collaborative relationships.
Judd’s partnership with the Daejeon Philharmonic has raised the orchestra’s profile with a successful European tour in 2017 and critically acclaimed performances at the Seoul Art Center’s Orchestra Festival. As Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) Judd brought the orchestra to a new level of visibility and international acclaim through appearances at the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, the Auckland International Arts Festival, and the Osaka Festival of International Orchestras. He led the NZSO in its first tour of the major concert halls of Europe, which concluded their debut at the BBC Proms.
He is the recipient of 2 honorary doctorates and is a graduate of London’s Trinity College of Music. He came to international attention as the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, a post he accepted at the invitation of Lorin Maazel. Four years later, he returned to Europe after being appointed Associate Music Director of the European Community Youth Orchestra by Claudio Abbado. He has held artistic leadership positions with the Slovak Philharmonic, Israel Symphony, Orchestre National de Lille, and Adelaide Symphony. His 14 year tenure as Music Director of the Florida Philharmonic culminated in international recognition for their recordings of William Walton, Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler.
In recent seasons he has conducted the NHK Symphony, Slovak Philharmonic, Hungarian National Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic, Kyoto Symphony, the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, and Slovenian National Philharmonic. He conducted the Romanian Radio Orchestra in a livestreamed performance of Britten’s War Requiem at the Enescu Festival in Bucharest, and has led the Berlin Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony, and the orchestras of Dallas, St. Louis, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Montreal.
As an opera conductor Judd has been a regular guest on the stages of the English National Opera, Wexford Festival and Glyndebourne Opera Festival, with productions of Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Rigoletto, The Barber of Seville, Le nozze di Figaro and La Cenerentola. As Artistic Director of the Florida Grand Opera he conducted productions of Don Giovanni, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly and The Turn of the Screw as well as concert performances of Tannhäuser, Fidelio and La clemenza di Tito. He has recorded the complete opera works of Meyerbeer and Donizetti.
Considered one of the pre-eminent interpreters of British orchestral music, Judd’s recording of Edward Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 with the Hallé Orchestra remains a highly regarded reference standard. He has amassed an extensive discography on the Naxos label, including an unprecedented number in partnership with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Beethoven, Bernstein, Copland, Gershwin. A champion of the works of Gustav Mahler, his recording of Mahler’s Symphony No.1 was awarded the Gold Medal by France’s Diapason and the Toblacher Komponierhäuschen for the best Mahler recording of the year. His orchestral recordings are also featured on the Decca, EMI and Philips labels.