Jim Setapen

Director of the Academy, Conductor-in-Residence, Conducting Faculty
Academy Chamber Orchestra Conductor
Music Theory Faculty
Program Area: 
Private Instruction
With Music Institute of Chicago since: 

Jim received his Master's in Opera Direction from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and his Bachelor's with Distinction and Performer's Certificate in Clarinet from the Eastman School of Music.

Significant teachers and mentors: 

A few of Jim's significant teachers/mentors include several individuals with whom he studied while traveling abroad. These instructors are: Max Rudolf, Boris Goldovsky, Thomas Briccetti, Christoph Eschenbach, Franco Ferrara, Carl Melles, Anthony Addison, and Willis Page.

Teaching philosophy and areas of expertise: 

Mr. Setapen has several areas of expertise given the large amount of exposure he has had to the music world. Areas that he is comfortable in/most familiar with include: conducting, orchestras, opera, mentoring, and chamber music.

Awards and achievements: 

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, 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)

Professional affiliations & activities: 

Some of Jim's most recent guest engagements have included the Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony, the Northbrook and Racine orchestras, and the University of Chicago Orchestra. He was also the Music Director of Summer Music Monterey, and 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.

Additional affiliations include: Board of Directors, Illinois Council of Orchestras, Member - League of American Orchestras, Conductors Guild

Interests outside of music: 

In addition to his love for music, Jim also enjoys theater, restaurants, architecture, Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, and English author Dennis Wheatley.

Favorite quote: 

Don't worry, be happy.

Favorite practice tip: 

Practice the difficulty, not the passage.

Favorite composer or piece to play: 

Favorite piece-what I'm currently studying!

Anything by Mozart

Favorite musical moment: 

The moment when everyone on stage is completely involved in the emotional impact of the music - this is the experience that makes it worth everything.