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Music Institute Academy Director and Conductor, James Setapen
Academy Director
Academy Director and MIC Conductor-in-Residence
At MIC for 16 years 2 months
Email
jsetapen@musicinst.org
Instrument(s)
Location(s)
Courses

Academy Artistic Director
Academy Orchestra Conductor
Private conducting lessons

Available For
Online
In-Person
Education

Master's in Opera Direction, Cleveland Institute of Music
Bachelor's with Distinction and Performer's Certificate in Clarinet, Eastman School of Music

Additional Studies / Recent Awards / Recordings

Mr. Setapen is currently the Director of the Academy and Conductor-in-Residence at the Music Institute of Chicago. From 1988 - 2007, he was Music Director and Conductor of the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra.

He has also guest conducted many orchestras and opera companies throughout the country, including those of Denver, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Orlando, and Honolulu.  He has also conducted in several cities in Italy, Germany, and Austria.

Jim also won his first prize in the Oakland Symphony's American Conductor's Competition.

Additional accomplishments include: Samuel Jones - Roundings (Naxos)
 

Basic Teaching Philosophy or Special Music Interests/Specialties

Special music interests
I love a broad range of classical music (symphonic, chamber, opera, Lieder, piano music, concerti, etc.) and the Beatles, Beach Boys, Nina Simone, Dixieland jazz, Bebop, and The Little Mermaid

Professional Affiliations & Activities

Recent guest engagements have included:
Milwaukee Symphony, the Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony, the Northbrook and Racine orchestras, University of Chicago Orchestra

Music Director of Summer Music Monterey - worked with the youth orchestras of Oakland, Denver, and Amarillo

Recently the guest conductor for the Vermont All-State Orchestra, the Milwaukee High School Honors Orchestra, and the Northeast Kansas Honors Orchestra

Setapen has also been on the faculty of the Conductor's Institute at Bard College in New York

Formerly on Board of Directors of the International Conductors Guild, and of the Illinois Council of Orchestras Member - League of American Orchestras, Conductors Guild

A few favorite things:
Charles Chaplin, Mozart's letters, Italian food, Dennis Wheatley novels, teaching young people

Memorable moment:
April 16, 1999 - the first time I conducted my daughter in a solo work, my son in a youth orchestra, and my wife in a professional orchestra - all on the same concert.

What I love about conducting:
I love sharing my thoughts and enthusiasm about the pieces I am conducting, and seeing students bring them to life. There is so much to think of as one is conducting! It is a total immersion into music making and responding to other performers.