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James Sommerville


James Sommerville is Principal Horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The winner of the highest prizes at the Munich, Toulon and CBC competitions, Mr. Sommerville has pursued a career as a French horn player that has spanned over 35 years, and has brought immensely successful appearances with major orchestras throughout North America and Europe.  His disc of the Mozart Horn Concertos with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra won the JUNO Award for Best Classical Recording in Canada.  Other award-winning CBC recordings include the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, and Britten’s Canticle.  Mr. Sommerville has recorded chamber music for the Deutsche Gramophon, Telarc, CBC, Summit, and Marquis labels.  He is a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, with whom he tours and records regularly.

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Mr. Sommerville has been a principal member of the Toronto and Montreal Symphony Orchestras, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, and was acting solo horn of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.  He has toured and recorded extensively as an orchestral player.  He is heard regularly on the CBC network and has recorded all of the standard solo horn repertoire for broadcast.

In the role of conductor, Mr. Sommerville has led many first-rate professional orchestras and ensembles throughout Canada and the USA.  He led the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra to great critical acclaim in his seven seasons as Music Director. Recent engagements include appearances with Symphony Nova Scotia and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Edmonton, London (Ontario) and Québec Symphony Orchestras. Internationally, Mr Sommerville has been conductor of the US National Brass Ensemble in concert and on their award-winning CD of music of Gabrieli and Williams, as well as a variety of ensembles throughout the USA, Europe and Asia.

As a guest artist and faculty member, Mr. Sommerville has performed at many chamber music festivals throughout Canada, the USA, Europe, Oceania and Asia.  Recent solo performances of note include the world premiere of Christos Hatzis’ Winter Solstice in Yellowknife, NWT; the North American premiere of Ligeti’s Hamburg Concerto with the BSO; and the John Williams Horn Concerto.  In recent seasons, Mr. Sommerville has appeared as a soloist in London (with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields), and in Costa Rica, Holland, Quebec, Ottawa and Italy.  In 2007, he performed the world premiere of Elliot Carter’s Horn Concerto, commissioned for him by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Sommerville also tours as a member of Osvaldo Golijov’s Andalucian Dogs. Future engagements include world premieres of new concertos by composers Kati Agocs and Christos Hatzis.

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