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Musician. Conductor.

His gestures, with their imperious rigor when necessary, alternates with movements of real sensitivity that seek to link the musical phrases together with flexibility (but also determination), as well as the musicians between them.

Jean Landras - 2021


Described as a refined and passionate conductor, James S. Kahane has been led to conduct first-rate orchestras such as the Finnish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Strings, and the Gstaad Festival Orchestra, and presently holds the positions of 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. Aged only 21, he was chosen to be Assistant Conductor to Susanna Mälkki at the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, where he served until Autumn 2018.

During the previous seasons, James has been invited to the Lucerne Festival Conducting Masterclass (out of more than 360 candidates) with Bernard Haitink, to the prestigious Tanglewood Music Festival in summer, and to the Deutsche Dirigentenpreis 2017 (German Conductors' Awards), where he was one of the 12 competitors to conduct the WDR Sinfonieorchester and the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln. Prior to that, he has already been the youngest selected conductor for the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, where he was later chosen by Neeme Järvi to conduct in an official festival concert. In 2018, James has been solicited by Kristjan Järvi to conduct the Baltic Academies Orchestra in Berlin as part of their first international tour, and the following year, he was awarded a fellowship to attend the Atlantic Music Festival in the United States. In Spring 2020, James was invited to assist Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu at the Orchestre de Paris.

Other orchestras he conducted include the Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Jyväskylä Sinfonia, the Kirkkonummi Chamber Orchestra, St. Michel Strings, the Helsinki Sinfonietta, the Triangle Orchestra, the Francophonia Orchestra, the Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta, the Pori Sinfonietta, the Joensuu City Orchestra, the Järvi Academy Symphony Orchestra, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, and the Rehovot Symphony Orchestra. Proficient in various genres of music, both in the symphonic and operatic world, James conducted the Finnish Chamber Opera on several occasions and was also a conductor at the Helsinki Contemporary Opera Festival, as well as on productions of operas such as 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, James was a guest conductor at the NYKY Ensemble, the Hurra Barockorkester, the Somnium Ensemble, the SaxiBa Ensemble, the Sibelius Academy Baroque Orchestra, and the Buchmann Mehta School of Music Contemporary Ensemble. Further engagements next season include concerts in Finland, Israel, Canada, Ireland and France.


OCTOBER 21st 2023

The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO) was founded in 1884 as The Hamilton Orchestral Society and grew to become one of Canada’s major professional orchestras. Today, the HPO is a leader in Hamilton’s robust arts community where it serves the needs of the community through enriching orchestral experiences. This includes professional performances on the mainstage at FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place), intimate chamber music experiences throughout the city, family programs, performances at local festivals and events, and performances for students in schools, among others.


"Join the orchestra in an exploration of musical friendships. Britten’s Variations of a Theme of Frank Bridge honours the composer’s mentor and Elgar’s Enigma Variations shares a series of musical sketches inspired by those closest to him. HPO Principal Oboe Aleh Remezau takes centerstage as soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto."


Benjamin Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Oboe Concerto

Kathryn Knowles: A Strange and Preposterous Affair

Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations

Aleh Remezau, oboe

James Kahane, conductor

The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

21.10.2023, FirstOntario Concert Hall, Hamilton, Canada.



James S. Kahane has been appointed Principal Conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de la Drôme alongside French Conductor Rémi Durupt.

"The 2023 season starts soon! But before that, it's time to announce our new artistic committee following the last general meeting of the Orchestre de Chambre de la Drôme. We are pleased to bring together the talented:

Nicolas Mizen, Artistic Director

Irène Hontang, Mediation Officer

Rémi Durupt, Principal Conductor

James S. Kahane, Principal Conductor

Alcide Menetrier, Concertmaster"

A newcomer to the professional musical landscape, the Orchester de Chambre de la Drôme aims to become one of the leading French chamber orchestras.

Since its creation, the Orchester de Chambre de la Drôme has brought together young professional instrumentalists around the same musical project, allowing its members to put into practice the musical training received in the best institutions in France and Europe.

The founders of the Orchestra imagined an ensemble as part of an innovative and ambitious project, aimed at becoming part of the Department of Drôme in the long term.

"James clearly has a natural talent for the art of conducting [...]. He is a very intelligent and passionate musician who shows great promise in his future as a conductor"

Gstaad, Switzerland

"I find [James] to be a profound and touching conductor. His Beethoven [Symphony No. 2] sounded vibrant and dynamic and I have to say I was quite impressed."

Lucerne, Switzerland

"Mr. Kahane is a sensitive and profound musician respected by his fellow students. He knows what he wants and is able to communicate this to the orchestra. This will take him far."

Helsinki, Finland

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Principal Conductor
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