Meet the Director | UCLA Department of Music



Dr. James K. Bass, three-time Grammy nominated singer and conductor, is the Director of Choral Studies in the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA and the Associate Conductor for the professional choir Seraphic Fire. He was previously on the faculty at Western Michigan University and the University of South Florida in Tampa and served as the Artistic Director of the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay: the official chorus of the Florida Orchestra. Bass received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami–Florida, where he was a doctoral fellow, Master of Music and Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of South Florida and is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Bass was selected by the master conductor of the Amsterdam Baroque Soloists, Ton Koopman, to be one of only 20 singers for a presentation of Cantatas by J.S. Bach in Carnegie Hall, and was an auditioned member of Robert Shaw’s workshop choir at Carnegie. He is one of 13 singers on the Grammy nominated disc "A Seraphic Fire Christmas". Dr. Bass is an active bass soloist and has performed at Winchester Cathedral in London, has sung 15 world premieres and appears on CD recordings on the Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, Albany and Seraphic Fire Media label. He will be making his Cleveland Orchestra debut as bass soloist in 2016 and has appeared with the New World Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, The Florida Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Back Bay Chorale and Orchestra, the Firebird Chamber orchestra and the Sebastians as bass soloist.

Bass is a bass member and Associate Conductor for Seraphic Fire, the Miami-based professional choir, and was appointed choirmaster for the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. During the summer of 2011 he co-founded the Professional Choral Institute at the University of South Florida. In its inaugural year of recording, Seraphic Fire and PCI received the Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance for their recording of Johannes Brahms' "Ein Deuthches Requiem". During his tenure as Artistic Director for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay he was responsible for five recordings and three world premieres. He has prepared choirs for Sir Colin Davis, Sir David Willcocks, Jahja Ling, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gerard Schwarz, Giancarlo Guerrero, Michael Francis, Marcelo Lehninger, Stefan Sanderling, Evan Rogister, Danail Rachlev, Joshua Weilerstein, Markus Huber, Michael Francis, Patrick Quigley and Robert Shaw among others.

He has served on the Executive Board of the American Choral Directors Association Central Division as College Repertoire and Standards chairperson. His professional affiliations include the American Choral Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, League of American Orchestras, Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.

Professor Bass's contact information is:

Office:  Ostin Music Building, #202