A refined and passionate conductor, French-born James S. Kahane is Music Director of Canada’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, founding member and Principal Conductor of the Helsinki Chamber Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de la Drôme, and Conductor of the Polytech Orchestra in Finland. He has conducted first-rate orchestras around the world such as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finnish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.  A rising star, at the age of 21 Kahane was designated by renowned Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki to be her assistant conductor at the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra for their 2017/2018 season. Since 2016, Kahane has been the conductor of the Far(away) Ensemble, a modular and multidisciplinary ensemble dedicated to performing the music of composer Jacopo Aliboni, with whom he recorded the score for the short films Du Temps Perdu and Le Temps Prend Feu, with the later featured at the 70th Cannes Festival. 
Among the notable orchestras he has conducted are the Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Ostrobothnia Chamber Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, the Jyväskylä Sinfonia, the St. Michel Strings, the Helsinki Sinfonietta, the Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta, the Pori Sinfonietta, the Joensuu City Orchestra and the Rehovot Symphony Orchestra. With a wealth of experience in both the symphonic and operatic worlds, Kahane has worked as conductor with the Finnish Chamber Opera on several occasions. A regular guest at the Helsinki Contemporary Opera Festival, he also conducted opera productions such as the The Tragedy of Carmen by Bizet at the Saint-Céré Festival, The Rape of Lucretia by Britten, and Years of Silence by Tuurna. Working regularly with very different repertoires, ranging from early baroque up until the music of our times, Kahane was a guest conductor at the NYKY Ensemble, the Hurra Barockorkester, the Somnium Ensemble, the SaxiBa Ensemble, and the Miroirs Étendus Ensemble. Engagements next season include concerts in Finland, Canada, Germany and France. 
Parallel to that, Kahane was invited to attend major music festivals, conductor masterclasses and events, among which are Bernard Haitink’s conducting masterclass at the Lucerne Music Festival, the prestigious Tanglewood Music Festival, the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, the 2017 Deutsche Dirigentenpreis (German Conductors’ Award), where he was one of 12 applicants chosen to conduct the WDR Symphony Orchestra and the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne. At the age of 22, he was asked by Kristjan Järvi to conduct the Baltic Academies Orchestra in Berlin during their first international tour, and the following year he was offered a conducting fellowship at the Atlantic Music Festival in the United States. In the spring of 2024, Kahane will be assistant conductor to Hannu Lintu at the prestigious Bayerische Staatsoper. 
A graduate from the world-renowned orchestral conducting class of the Sibelius Academy, Kahane studied under the tutelage of Sakari Oramo, Atso Almila and Hannu Lintu, and benefited parallelly from the teaching of major conductors such as Paavo Järvi, David Zinman, Peter Eötvös, Matthias Pintscher, Sir Roger Norrington, John Storgårds, Mikko Franck, Leif Segerstam, Johannes Schlaefli, Nicolas Pasquet and Jorma Panula. 
In 2018, the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE bought the rights to a documentary about three promising conductors of the Sibelius Academy, including James S. Kahane. The documentary was released in Finnish movie theatres in Spring 2020.