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KWF Trustee: James Holmes

Having spent many years working in two of the UK's leading opera houses–-English National Opera and Opera North--James Holmes is now a freelance conductor, arranger, and accompanist. Alongside his operatic work he has cultivated a longtime interest in musical theater: while at ENO he conducted the London premiere and Grammy-nominated recording of Sondheim's Pacific Overtures, as well as Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny and Street Scene--the latter also for BBC-TV, after which he was engaged for their documentary on Weill's American years I'm A Stranger Here Myself. His interest in and enthusiasm for Weill further developed at Opera North through productions of The Seven Deadly Sins and major British premieres of One Touch of Venus and Arms and the Cow (Der Kuhhhandel). He conducted the Berlin premiere of Street Scene, which resulted in an acclaimed DVD release, and One Touch of Venus at the Ravenna Festival and for the Kurt Weill Fest Dessau; while his work for the Royal Opera House includes two Weill projects--the compilation "Songs from a Hotel Bedroom" and the British premiere of Zaubernacht. He was associate music director for Nicholas Hytner's celebrated Carousel at the National Theatre and in the West End and has conducted the same piece in an acclaimed production for Opera North; other notable work there includes Sweeney Todd and Into The Woods. Following a successful debut for Welsh National Opera with Sweeney Todd, he has recently returned to conduct Kiss Me, Kate. His concert work includes appearances with the Halle, CBSO, LSO, Montreal Symphony and the London Sinfonietta--notably in an evening of Weill/Brecht curated by Patti Smith. He has worked regularly as assistant to Simon Rattle at Glyndebourne (notably the famous Porgy and Bess), the Met, and at the Aix and Salzburg Festivals; while his work as arranger includes musical theater songs for recordings and the BBC Proms featuring such notable British singers as Bryn Terfel, Sally Burgess, and Lesley Garrett. He worked on the recent first complete recording of One Touch of Venus, and is a designated artist-in-residence for the Kurt Weill Fest Dessau as well as a member of the Advisory Board for the Kurt Weill Edition. Overall, the range of his experience conducting and working with Weill's music is as wide as that of anyone in the world.