James Lowe began his tenure as the 8th Music Director of the Spokane Symphony in the 2019/20 season. His work as Artistic Director of the Hallé Harmony Youth Orchestra was featured in a four-part documentary shown in the UK on Channel 4 in 2010. A recipient of the Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talent, Lowe is Principal Conductor of the Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble and Principal Guest Conductor of Music for Everyone. He has held the position of Associate Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestras Advisor to the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, Chief Conductor of the Prussian Chamber Orchestra, Germany and the Vaasa City Orchestra, Finland.

Educated at the University of Edinburgh, Lowe continued his development as Benjamin Zander Conducting Fellow with the Boston Philharmonic, and has studied with leading conductors in master classes, including Jorma Panula, Neeme Järvi, Bernard Haitink and with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra. He has worked as Assistant Conductor to Haitink in performances with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

One of two prizewinners in the Tokyo International Competition for Conductors and special prize winner in the Jorma Panula International Competition, he has appeared in performance with the Osaka and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras, the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, Scottish Ballet, the orchestra of Welsh National Opera, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as working with numerous other ensembles in many European countries, South Africa and the USA.

In addition to his conducting work James is active as an educator, teacher of conducting and is undertaking research exploring ways in which orchestras can meaningfully engage with a wider public.

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Orchestras and Soloists

James Lowe has worked with the following ensembles and soloists:


  • BBC Philharmonic (BBC Young Conductors 2002)
  • BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble (Principal Conductor)
  • Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä
  • The Gecko Ensemble
  • The Hallé Orchestra
  • The Hallé Harmony Youth Orchestra
  • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
  • Kaiserslautern Symphony Orchestra
  • Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra
  • Kwa Zulu Natal Philharmonic
  • London Symphony Orchestra in master class with Valery Gergiev
  • Luxembourg Philharmonic
  • Luzern Symphony Orchestra in master class with Bernard Haitink
  • Meadows Chamber Orchestra
  • Moscow Chamber Orchestra
  • Music for Everyone (Principal Guest Conductor)
  • National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada
  • New Bristol Sinfonia (Artistic Director)
  • New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Nottingham Youth Orchestra
  • Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Pori Sinfonietta
  • Residentie Orkest, Den Haag also in master class with Neeme Järvi
  • Richard Strauss Gala Orchestra (Thistle Music) Strauss – Alpine Symphony
  • Rose Street Ensemble
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
  • Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Youth Works
  • Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Associate Conductor, 2004-2007)
  • Scottish Ballet
  • Scottish Borders Orchestra
  • Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Sinfonia ViVA
  • St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra
  • Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Trondheim Symphony Orchestra
  • Vaasa Sinfonia
  • Welsh National Opera
  • The Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
  • West of Scotland Schools Orchestra (Artistic Director)




  • Peter Donohoe
  • Philip Fischer
  • Tanya Gabrielian
  • Lang Lang
  • Natasha Paremski



  • Nicola Benedetti, violin
  • Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne, violin
  • Steven Isserlis, cello
  • Guy Johnston, cello
  • Natalie Klein, cello


Brass and woodwind

  • John Gracie, trumpet
  • Tine Thing Helseth, trumpet
  • Carla Rees, flute
  • John Cushing, clarinet
  • Scott Lygate, clarinet



  • Barbara Hendricks, soprano
  • Jane Irwin, soprano
  • Elizabeth Llewellyn, soprano