James Bass
Professor and Chair of the Department of Music, Director of Choral Studies; Conducting, Music Performance

Director, Choral Studies

James K. Bass, three-time GRAMMY®-nominated singer and conductor, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Music, and Director of Choral Studies at The Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. He is the Associate Conductor and Director of Education for the Miami-based ensemble Seraphic Fire and is the Artistic Director of the Long Beach Camerata Singers.

Bass is an active soloist and ensemble artist. In 2017 he made his Cleveland Orchestra solo debut singing with Franz Welser-Möst and the orchestra in Miami and in Severance Hall, Cleveland. Other engagements as a soloist include the New World Symphony with Michael Tilson-Thomas, The Florida Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Back Bay Chorale and Orchestra, Firebird Chamber Orchestra, and The Sebastians. He has appeared with numerous professional vocal ensembles including Seraphic Fire, Conspirare, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Apollo Master Chorale, Vox Humanae, True Concord, and Spire. He was the featured baritone soloist on the GRAMMY-nominated recording Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings with fellow singer Lauren Snouffer, conductor Craig Hella-Johnson, and the GRAMMY-winning ensemble Conpirare. He is one of 13 singers on the GRAMMY®-nominated disc A Seraphic Fire Christmas and appears on CD recordings on the Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, Albany, and Seraphic Fire Media labels.

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 has appeared as conductor with the Florida Orchestra during their annual education concerts.

During his tenure as Artistic Director for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, the official chorus of the Florida Orchestra, he was responsible for five recordings and multiple world premieres. In 2012 he served as chorusmaster and co-editor for the Naxos recording entitled Delius: Sea Drift and Appalachia featuring the Florida Orchestra and conducted by Stefan Sanderling. In 2014 he was the principal preparer for the recording Holiday Pops Live! conducted by the principal pops conductor Jeff Tyzik. During his tenure as a chorusmaster, 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, David Lockington, Xian Zhang, Patrick Quigley, and Neal Stulberg.

His professional career has coincided with the development of Seraphic Fire as one of the premier vocal ensembles in the United States. He has been actively involved as soloist, ensemble artist, editor, producer, and preparer for 14 of the ensemble’s recordings and routinely conducts the ensemble in Miami and on tour. During the summer of 2011, he co-founded the Professional Choral Institute. 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. As the Director of Education for the ensemble, he has been involved with annual events that service more than 2000 students in the Miami-Dade county area each year. In 2017 Seraphic Fire and UCLA launched a new educational initiative entitled the Ensemble Artist Program that aims to identify and train the next generation of high-level ensemble singers.

Bass received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami, where he was a doctoral fellow, and is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Related Members

See All Music Faculty
Hitomi Oba
Director of Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, Lecturer
Michael Dean
Professor - Voice Performance
Inna Faliks
Professor - Head of Piano
Christoph Bull
Adjunct Professor - Organ Performance
Movses Pogossian
Distinguished Professor of Violin; Founder and Advisor, Armenian Music Program - Music Performance
Victoria Kirsch
Lecturer - Vocal Coaching
Peter Kazaras
Distinguished Professor - Director of Opera UCLA
Varty Manouelian
Lecturer - Violin Performance; Violin LA Phil
James Miller
Lecturer - Trombone Performance; Associate Principal Trombone LA Phil
John Steinmetz
Lecturer - Bassoon Performance
Vladimir Chernov
Distinguished Professor - Voice Performance
Kay Rhie
Assistant Professor
Jonathan Davis
Lecturer - Oboe Performance
William Kinderman
Elaine Krown Klein Chair in Performance Studies, Professor
Ian Krouse
Distinguished Professor
Che-Yen Chen
Professor - Viola Performance
Brendan McBrien
Lecturer--Music Education
Benjamin Smolen
Lecturer - Flute Performance
Lou Anne Neill
Lecturer - Harp Performance; Harp LA Phil
Nick DePinna
Adjunct Assistant Professor--Musicianship
Herbie Hancock
Adjunct Professor; LA Phil Guest Artist
David Kaplan
Inaugural Shapiro Family Chair in Piano Performance; Assistant Professor
Johanna Gamboa-Kroesen
Assistant Professor--Music Education
Alison Deane
Associate Adjunct Professor
Chris Hanulik
Adjunct Professor - String Bass Performance; Principal Bass LA Phil
Lily Chen-Hafteck
Professor and Special Assistant to the Inaugural Dean for Curricular Reform
Lucy Yates
Lecturer - Vocal Diction, Vocal Coaching
Dante De Silva
Lecturer - Composition, Music Theory
Ji Young An
Lecturer - Violin Performance
Adam Gilberti
Lecturer - Music Education/Woodwinds
Gregory Goodall
Lecturer - Percussion Performance
Theresa Dimond
Lecturer - Percussion Performance
Travis J. Cross
Director of Bands; Professor - Conducting
David Lefkowitz
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Music
Amy Sanchez
Lecturer - Horn Performance
Juliana Gondek
Distinguished Professor, Voice Performance
Cheryl Lin Fielding
Lecturer - Vocal Diction, Vocal Coaching
Iris Malkin
Lecturer - Vocal Coaching
Wendy Caldwell
Lecturer - Vocal Coaching
Arturo O’Farrill
Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; Professor
Aubrey Foard
Lecturer - Tuba Performance
Jan Berry Baker
Professor of Saxophone, Vice Chair of the Department of Music, and Special Assistant to the Dean for Faculty Mentoring
Shahāb Pāranj
Composition – Lecturer and Postdoctoral Scholar, Contemporary concert music
Ryan Brown
Lecturer -- Voice
Gloria Cheng
Adjunct Professor - Contemporary Music, Performance Studies
Erin Bouriakov
Lecturer - Flute Performance
Jens Lindemann
Distinguished Professor of Trumpet
Denis Bouriakov
Lecturer - Flute Performance; Principal Flute LA Philharmonic
Boris Allakhverdyan
Lecturer - Clarinet Performance, Principal Clarinet LA Philharmonic
Antonio Lysy
Professor - Cello Performance and Strings Area Head
Rakefet Hak
Music Director of Opera UCLA, Lecturer
Joshua Ranz
Lecturer - Clarinet Performance

Explore Other Degrees

Conducting
Graduate study and training in choral, orchestral, or wind conducting
Ethnomusicology
The study of global musical traditions through performance training, research, and field work
Global Jazz Studies
Jazz performance and musicianship courses are paired with African American Studies
BA
Music Composition
Mentorship in the creation and realization of music for concerts, opera, and visual media
Music Education
Preparation for music educators leading to a BA and teaching credential in just four years
BA
Music Industry
A leadership-focused professional degree which prepares students to transform the creative, entrepreneurial, and executive structures of the music industry
Musicology
The scholarly study of the histories, cultures, and critical interpretations of music and music-making
Music Performance
Study and training towards professional performance careers in Western classical music