Don James, CM settled in Powell River after graduating in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Washington in the early 1970s. Over the past 37 years he has enjoyed a successful career as a conductor, music educator and musical entrepreneur. He is the Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, Powell River Academy of Music, International Choral Kathaumixw and Symphony Orchestra & Opera Academy of the Pacific and recently elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Powell River Academy of Music.
He has served as president of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors and the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools and, for a decade, was Canada’s representative on the Board of Directors of the International Federation for Choral Music and is currently a member of the Music Council of the World Choir Games.
Mr. James has been a juror for the Juno Awards, CBC National Choir Competition, Miedzyzdroje Festival of Song in Poland, the national choral competitions of Sweden and the Choir Olympics in Korea and in China. Mr. James is the recipient of the Willan Award and Canada’s highest honour, the Order of Canada, in recognition of his distinguished service to music.
A mentor and an inspiration to a countless number of his students and colleagues, Mr. James’ influence in creating connections between musicians cannot be overstated; he has reached out to the global music community throughout his career. As the member, and sometimes chair, of national and international boards he has initiated many important musical projects in Canada and around the world.