James Sommerville is Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Sommerville has conducted many first-rate professional orchestras and ensembles throughout Canada and the USA. He has led the Hamilton Philharmonic to great critical acclaim in his five years as Music Director. Recent engagements include appearances with Symphony Nova Scotia and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as well as performances leading the Edmonton, London (Ontario) and Québec Symphony Orchestras.
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 25 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.
Mr. Sommerville has been a 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.
As a guest artist and faculty member, Mr. Sommerville has performed at many chamber music festivals throughout Canada, the USA, Europe and Japan. 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. In April 2010, he stepped in on 48 hours’ notice to perform Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 with Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony. In his spare time, Mr. Sommerville enjoys golfing, cycling, eating and riding his Ducati.