JAMES WELSCH – Conducting, Composition


Dr. James O. Welsch is Music Director and Symphonic Orchestra Conductor of Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras. He is also a faculty member at Stetson University.


He has held the dual positions of Associate Conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and Music Director and General Manager of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras, where he conducted the premier ensemble. In addition to serving as cover conductor for the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, he also conducted the professional musicians in a variety of Pops and educational concerts, including Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program.


Dr. Welsch is the founding Music Director/Principal Conductor of Orquesta Filarmónica Juvenil México-USA “The Bridge.” This binational youth program validates his belief in the universal power of symphonic music to create bonds among people in diverse communities. The initiative, which brings together talented musicians from Ciudad Juarez and El Paso for orchestral performances on both sides of the border, has been widely hailed by public media in Mexico and the United States and by professional musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma.


While earning his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Welsch focused on orchestral conducting under the mentorship of Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann. He gained experience in a variety of genres through study and collaboration with established practitioners, including Kelly Kuo, University of Texas Butler Opera Center; Jerry Junkin, Director of Bands, Butler School of Music, and Peter Bay, Austin Symphony Orchestra.


He also studied conducting with James Tapia and John Laverty at Syracuse University, where he earned a Master’s Degree; and Bobby Adams, Anthony Hose, and Duncan Couch at Stetson University, where he earned his undergraduate degree. In master classes and workshops, he studied with Jorma Panula, Raffi Armenian, James Croft, Timothy Reynish, Kevin Noe and Joseph Kreines.


Primary teachers of Composition Studies include: Kari Juusela, Sydney Hodkinson, Daniel Godfrey, and Joseph Kreines. He participated in master classes and seminars offered by John Harbison, Steven Stucky, Judith Weir, Pauline Oliveros, Robert Ashley, Robert Ward, and Larry Austin.


Dr. Welsch is an experienced educator who is dedicated to the development of the whole student through the nurturing of each musician’s unique talent. Immediately after earning a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Music there, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses; conducted orchestras and ensembles; was Music Director/Conductor for fully staged operas, and performed all faculty responsibilities, including student recruitment and committee work. He was honored as the Outstanding Music Faculty Member in 2008.


With a commitment to broadening the experience of symphonic music for performing artists and audiences, Dr. Welsch has developed an extensive, eclectic conducting repertoire that includes not only the established canon, but also extraordinary works by under-represented composers. His focus on literature analysis, developed during his post-baccalaureate education, continues as he studies and shares with his orchestras and ensembles the works of the masters as well as those by new and overlooked composers.


Dr. Welsch is an active adjudicator, master class teacher, and festival conductor. He has considerable experience arranging music.


Delighting in the collaborative experiences that his art affords, Dr. Welsch welcomes opportunities to work with others, whether for a session of score study, an impromptu ensemble where he plays French Horn, his principal instrument, or a public performance. He especially values the creative experience of working with and hosting guest artists.

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