Skip to page content

James DePreist


About this Artist

JAMES DEPREIST, a frequent and popular guest conductor of Juilliard's orchestral ensembles for the past decade, is now in his second season as Juilliard's director of conducting and orchestral studies. At Juilliard DePreist selects via audition and trains an expected class of five to six young conductors annually, in addition to leading at least four of the 14 to 15 concerts by the school's orchestra and symphony during each season.

James DePreist, the newly appointed permanent conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, has served during the past three decades as music director of L'Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Sweden's Malmo Symphony, L'Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, and the Oregon Symphony; he has toured and recorded extensively during his tenure with each orchestra. He currently is laureate music director of the Oregon Symphony and principal artistic advisor of the Phoenix Symphony.

As a guest conductor DePreist has appeared with every major orchestra in North America, as well as leading orchestras throughout Europe, Australia, Israel, and Asia. In April 2005 he made his London debut with the London Symphony at the Barbican Hall. He appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival, with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center.

With more than 50 recordings to his credit, DePreist has a substantial discography. His broad range of recorded repertoire includes a celebrated Shostakovich series with the Helsinki Philharmonic and 15 recordings with the Oregon Symphony, which have helped establish that orchestra as one of America's finest. In December 2003 he and the Oregon Symphony received their first Grammy nomination for the recording of Tomas Svoboda's Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra with Niel DePonte.

Born in Philadelphia in 1936, DePreist studied composition with Vincent Persichetti at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1962, while on a State Department tour in Bangkok, he contracted polio but recovered sufficiently to win a first prize in the Dimitri Mitropoulous International Conducting Competition. He was selected by Leonard Bernstein to be an assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic for the 1965/66 season, and in 1969 made his highly acclaimed European debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic.

James DePreist has been awarded 13 honorary doctorates and is the author of two published books of poetry. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music; is a recipient of the Insignia of Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland and the Medal of the City of Québec; and is an Officer of the Order of Cultural Merit of Monaco.