Founded on his thorough training in both Russia and Germany, British conductor James Ham is building a reputation across the orchestral, opera and ballet repertoire for his versatility, wealth of ideas, and genuine music making.
Recent performances include concerts with the Magdeburgische Philharmonie, Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Brandenburger Symphoniker, Ensemble Modern Akademie, Gibraltar Philharmonic and education concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently conductor of the London Orchestra Project, a chamber orchestra featuring some of the UK’s finest orchestral players, which he co-founded along with Stephen Bryant, concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performing at LSO St Luke’s, his recent concerts with the London Orchestra Project thave included works by Bartok, Schoenberg, Strauss, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Ligeti and Kilar, along with Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with Michael Collins.
In the theatre, Ham has conducted performances of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Tosca. In 2020, he was assistant conductor to Wayne Marshall on Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the Theater an der Wien, and Anthony Bramall on Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich. He has previously assisted on productions of Donizetti’s L’Assedio di Calais and Handel’s Belshazzar, and conducted in workshops with the Komische Oper Berlin, Magdeburg Theater and Staatsoper Cottbus. With Birmingham Royal Ballet, during his time as Conducting Fellow, he conducted several performances of The Nutcracker, Coppélia and The Grand Tour both in Birmingham and on tour. He was also cover conductor for Giselle, Aladdin, Still Life at the Penguin Cafe, E=Mc2, and Façade.
His formative training was at the St Petersburg Conservatory and UdK Berlin, establishing his interest in German and Russian music from the 19th and 20th centuries, along with that of central Europe. Ham also has a keen interest in contemporary music, based on his specialist training as a conductor with the London Sinfonietta Academy, Ensemble Modern Akademie and Lucerne Festival Academy, where he was Conducting Fellow in 2016.
During his studies, Ham was selected to participate in international masterclasses with Alan Gilbert, Susanna Mälkki, Martyn Brabbins, Johannes Schlaefli and Nicolas Pasquet, conducting orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has assisted Sakari Oramo on a number of projects and has also assisted Karel Mark Chichon with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie on several occasions. Other conductors he has assisted include Sir Mark Elder, Garry Walker and Martin André. He is a former BBC Performing Arts Fund Music Fellow and also held the Charles Mackerras Conducting Fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.