James Ball was formerly Director of Orchestral Activities, Associate Professor of Conducting, and Director of the Jazz Ensemble at Albion College. He began his duties at Albion in the fall of 1999 when he was also named Conductor of the Tecumseh (MI) Pops Orchestra. He has performed a wide variety of music with a number of professional musical organizations and institutions during his twenty-five year career. Prior to accepting his position at Albion College, Dr. Ball served for five years as Music Director and Conductor of the Danville (IL) Symphony Orchestra. In recent years he has guest conducted the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra of Zlin in the Czech Republic, Vidin State Philharmonic Orchestra in Vidin, Bulgaria and the Oaxaca Symphony Orchestra in Mexico. In 1997 he was one of 50 conductors invited worldwide to compete in the “Mario Gusella” International Conducting Competition in Pescara, Italy where he advanced to the semi-final round.
Ball is the founding Music Director of the Sandy Springs (GA) Chamber Orchestra and the founding conductor of “New Ear”, Kansas City’s widely acclaimed professional contemporary music chamber ensemble. He has also served as Music Director and Conductor of the Lawrence (KS) Symphony Orchestra and the Kansas City String Orchestra and has held conducting posts with the Missouri Symphony Society, the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, the Atlanta Chamber Orchestra, the Jackson (MI) Youth Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Costa Rica. He has also conducted the Shinsei Nihon Symphony Orchestra in Japan, the Elkhart (IN) Symphony Orchestra, the Mid-Columbia (WA) Symphony, the Macon (GA) Symphony, the Kingsport (TN) Symphony, and the Lawrence (KS) Chamber Players.
Dr. Ball has taught on the faculties of the University of Costa Rica, the University of West Florida, Pensacola Junior College and served as a staff administrator at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and the Kansas City American Arts Festival. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and holds Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University and Georgia State University. He completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1992. Ball has studied conducting with Theo Alcantra, Uri Mayer, Frederick Ockwell, and Robert Olson and has attended workshops and master classes with such noted conductors and composers as Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Lukas Foss, Maurice Abravanel, Gustav Meier, William Kraft and David Amram.