James Blachly is a conductor dedicated to artistic excellence and broader accessibility. In addition to frequent guest conducting appearances, he currently serves as Music Director of the of the Experiential Orchestra in New York City, and the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania. His Grammy® Award-winning world-premiere recording of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Prison, released on Chandos Records, has been critically acclaimed by The New York Times, New Yorker, Gramophone, San Francisco Chronicle, Financial Times, The Guardian, and many others.
Dedicated to finding new ways of empowering audiences, he is also in demand as a speaker on Listening as Leadership, bringing his expertise as a conductor and passion for music to Fortune 500 companies, schools, and other organizations.
Mr. Blachly’s innovative programming aims to increase audience engagement and empower audiences. With the Johnstown Symphony, he conducted the orchestra in a former steel mill in a concert that was featured on Katie Couric’s America Inside Out, and in three seasons the orchestras has increased season ticket sales by 43%; with the Experiential Orchestra, he has invited audiences to dance to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, sit within the orchestra at Lincoln Center, and engage with Symphonie fantastique and Petrushka with circus choreography in an ongoing collaboration with The Muse in Brooklyn.
A strong supporter of composers of our time, Mr. Blachly has commissioned and premiered more than 40 works from composers such as Jessie Montgomery, Courtney Bryan, Kate Copeland Ettinger, Patrick Castillo, Viet Cuong, Brad and Doug Balliett, and many others. In recent seasons, he has collaborated with soloists Julia Bullock, Andrés Cárdenes, Michael Chioldi, Karen Kim, Andrew Yee, Owen Dalby, and more.
He was the only conductor from the U.S. invited to participate in the 1st Annual Young Conductor’s Showcase as a part of El Sistema’s 40th Anniversary celebration, and he was also the only U.S. conductor to be invited as Conducting Fellow in Maestra Marin Alsop's final year at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Recent guest conducting engagements include Williamsburg Symphony, Lima Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Danbury Symphony, Odyssey Opera (Boston), Trinity Church Wall Street (New York City), and performances at Roulette, National Sawdust, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
Dedicated to music education, he regularly conducts workshops and clinics for the New York Philharmonic, and served as Ensemble Director for the Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids program. From 2010 to 2015, he performed benefit concerts of Mahler symphonies with New York freelancers to launch what is now Make Music NOLA, a thriving El Sistema-Inspired program in New Orleans.
He studied with Donald Schleicher and trained with Larry Rachleff, and served for two years as the Zander Fellow for the Boston Philharmonic.
Also active as a composer, he studied at Mannes with Robert Cuckson and privately with Charles Wuorinen and John Corigliano. His compositions have been celebrated as “vigorous and assured” by Chamber Music America, and a “splendidly crafted…tour de force” by the Miami Herald Tribune, and have been performed at The Stone, Zankel Hall, in Europe and across the US, in an audience for the Pope, and broadcast live on the CBC.
For more information, please visit www.jamesblachly.com