Ross ‘n’ Roll

The new director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra brings about change.

James Ross

Photo by P.J. Barbour

To James Ross, the new music director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, his new assignment is as much about perspective as it is about his craft. “I’ve lived for 17 years on the Maryland side of D.C. and thought it would be good to look at life from both sides now,” says Ross, who arrived in Virginia just in time for the symphony’s 75th anniversary season, filling a two-year vacancy. 

The Boston native and internationally reputable conductor edged out 170 competitors, making him the “stellar choice as our next artistic leader,” says ASO Board President Anne Best Rector. 

Ross wants to modernize the symphony. “I am interested in the perspective shift that orchestra concerts might undergo if we open up our programming to include the voices of women composers,” he says. 

And he means business. In November, the ASO offered the world premiere of Jessica Krash’s Cello Concerto. Ross also plans to make symphonic productions more accessible. “Our Sunday performances at the George Washington Masonic Memorial will also feature family-friendly conductor chats called As the Baton Swings at which I look forward to introducing a few of the special features of that day’s program to the young or generally curious,” he says. AlexSym.org 


This article originally appeared in our December 2018 issue.

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