James Paul is widely acclaimed as one of North America's most distinguished conductors. Mr. Paul has served as music director and conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony, principal guest conductor of the Louisiana Philharmonic, associate conductor of the Kansas City Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony, conducting fellow of the St. Louis Symphony, and artistic advisor to the Tulsa Philharmonic. Mr. Paul currently holds permanent positions as music director and conductor of the Oregon Festival of American Music and music director of the Oregon Coast Music Festival, which he has held since 1990. After six seasons as principal guest conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival, he also served as artistic director of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival from 2006 to 2009.

Recent highlights include appearances with the Louisiana Philharmonic, conducting the premiere of Jake Runestad’s Dreams of the Fallen, a commemoration of US veterans, and with the Phoenix Symphony, conducting Elgar’s Symphony No.1 and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto featuring soloist Karen Gomyo.

Mr. Paul’s illustrious career has included guest appearances with many of the world’s finest orchestras. North-American engagements include performances with the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Florida orchestras; the Chicago, Houston, Columbus, Dallas, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Milwaukee Oakland, Omaha, Oregon, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle symphonies; the Tulsa Philharmonic; the National Symphony in Washington D.C.; the Calgary Philharmonic; Symphony Nova Scotia; and the Vancouver and Winnipeg symphonies. Overseas he has also taken the podiums of the Beijing Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Colonne (France), Orchestre Symphonique Français, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa (Mexico), Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony, Tampere Philharmonic (Finland), Tonkünstlerorchester (Austria), and the West Australian Symphony (Perth).

During his tenure as music director and conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony, James Paul brought the orchestra to national prominence. The symphony shared the 1983 American Symphony Orchestra League award for most innovative programming with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and was also the only regional orchestra featured on National Public Radio’s Music in America series. In 1984, James Paul founded the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus. In 1988, during the Baton Rouge Symphony’s 40th anniversary season, Mr. Paul led the orchestra in a triumphant performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall. At the conclusion of his final concerts in February 1998, he was named Conductor Emeritus, the only conductor so honored by the orchestra in its 50-year history.

Mr. Paul is noted for his critically acclaimed performances of orchestral-choral works such as Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Britten’s Spring Symphony, and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. His discography includes Paul Paray’s Joan of Arc Mass and First Symphony, performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus for Reference Recordings. It received a Grammy nomination for “Best Choral Performance.” A native of Forest Grove, Oregon, Mr. Paul studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and at Mozarteum Salzburg. He was awarded the Serge Koussevitsky Memorial Conducting Prize, presented by Erich Leinsdorf at the 1967 Tanglewood Music Festival.


Back to Top