In addition to the NZSO, Judd’s previous directorships include Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille in France and a groundbreaking 14 years as Music Director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. During his eight years as Music Director in New Zealand, Judd garnered acclaim for his recordings with the orchestra, including works by Copland, Bernstein, Vaughan Williams, Gershwin and many others.
Judd’s time as Music Director of the NZSO brought the Orchestra to a new level of international renown. This was achieved in particular by the Orchestra’s appearances at the 2000 Summer Sydney Olympics Arts Festival, the 2003 Auckland International Arts Festival, the Osaka Festival of International Orchestras, as well as a specially televised Millennium concert featuring Kiri Te Kanawa. He also led the Orchestra on its first ever tour of the major concert halls of Europe, culminating with a debut appearance at the BBC Proms and the Concertgebouw in August 2005. James Judd’s live recordings of Mahler’s Symphonies No. 9 with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and No. 10 with the European Community Youth Orchestra received enthusiastic international praise, and his performance of Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 with the Halle Orchestra is still a highly regarded reference standard among conductors today.
A graduate of London’s Trinity College of Music, Judd came to international attention as the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, a post he accepted at the invitation of Lorin Maazel. Four years later, he returned to Europe after being appointed Associate Music Director of the European Community Youth Orchestra by Claudio Abbado.
Since that time, Judd has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic, conducted in the great halls of Europe including the Salzburg Mozarteum and Vienna’s Musikverein, and made guest appearances with such prestigious ensembles as the Vienna Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, Prague Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Monte Carlo Symphony Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Flemish Radio Orchestra, and the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg. Judd also has experience working in Asia, collaborating regularly with Tokyo's NHK Orchestra and the Seoul Philharmonic. He is in great demand with youth orchestras: he opened the last season with the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and spent the summer with the Asian Youth Orchestra. His opera work includes the English National Opera with productions of Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto and Le Nozze di Figaro; and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival with Rossini’s La Cenerentola. James Judd served as Artistic Director of the Florida Grand Opera from 1993-1996.
Judd’s recordings with the Florida Philharmonic include an internationally acclaimed performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. This recording was named “Recording of the Month” in Stereophile, received the Gold Medal from France’s Diapason, and was awarded the “Toblacher Komponierhauschen” at the Salzburg Festival by the Gustav Mahler Society for the best new Mahler recording of the year world-wide.
James Judd is the co-founder of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, which he has led on tours throughout the United States, Asia and Europe. He is a frequent and much-admired guest conductor in the Americas, having appeared with the orchestras of St. Louis, Montreal, Baltimore, Cincinnatti, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Seattle, Indianapolis, Utah, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.