British conductor James Ham enjoys a growing reputation across the orchestral, opera and ballet repertoire for his versatility, wealth of ideas, and genuine music making.
Performances in the 2021-22 season include a 20 performance tour of The Nutcracker with Scottish Ballet, The Great Gatsby with Northern Ballet, Oscar Straus’s rarity The Chocolate Soldier with Opera della Luna, a third visit to the Gibraltar Philharmonic, and projects with Vladimir Jurowski and Edward Gardner as an assistant conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. 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.
In the theatre, Ham has conducted performances of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Tosca. Last year, 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.
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.
Ham has assisted Vladimir Jurowski with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Karel Mark Chichon with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie on several occasions. Other conductors he has assisted include Sakari Oramo, Sir Mark Elder, and Martin André. During his studies, he was selected to participate in international masterclasses with Alan Gilbert, Susanna Mälkki, Sir Colin Davis, and Bernard Haitink, conducting orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.