The 2018 Honor Orchestra conductor is Dr. James Mick
Dr. James Mick is an associate professor of music education at Ithaca College in upstate New York. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in string pedagogy, orchestral rehearsal techniques, instrumental conducting, psychology of music teaching, and contemporary ensembles in the public schools.
A passionate music educator and ardent supporter of public school music programs, Dr. Mick currently serves as president of the New York American String Teachers Association and frequently works with public school students of all ages and abilities. A popular guest conductor, he has been invited to work with students in a variety of settings ranging from individual school and all-district events to all-county and all-state honor festivals. Recent and upcoming appearances include The American School of London (United Kingdom) and All-State orchestras in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, Ohio, and Wyoming.
In addition to his guest conducting appearances, Dr. Mick is the music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO) where he was recently named the 4th music director since the organization’s 1970 inception. The RPYO performs three concerts per year in various locations around the Rochester community including an annual side-by-side performance with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at Eastman-Kodak Hall. In 2017, he led the RPYO in concert at the esteemed Carnegie Hall in New York City. Dr. Mick is also the past Music Director of the Ithaca Community Orchestra where he proudly worked with a diverse group of musicians who represented a wide range of ages and experiences. His primary conducting mentors are Alexander Jiménez and Germán Gutiérrez.
An active clinician, Dr. Mick has recently presented at many local and national conferences including the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Conference, the Midwest International Band & Orchestra Clinic, and various state conferences including Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. He is also a frequent invited guest speaker at a variety of institutions of higher education including recent presentations at Cornell University, Hartwick College, the University of Kentucky, and VanderCook College of Music.
An active performer, Dr. Mick has performed double bass with a wide array of ensembles throughout the country including Symphoria! in Syracuse, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Binghamton Philharmonic, Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Lone Star Wind Symphony, Central New York Winds, Galen Jeter Big Band, Johnny Case Trio, and even a rock band that performed on Austin’s 6th Street during the famed South by Southwest music festival. As a soloist, Dr. Mick has performed for Gary Karr, Paul Ellison, Jeff Bradetich, Hal Robinson, David Murray, and Joel Quarrington. In addition to playing, Dr. Mick maintains a small private studio of double bass students.
Originally a native of Kansas, Dr. Mick has taught elementary and middle school orchestra in Texas, and high school orchestra and jazz in New York. Dr. Mick holds degrees in Music Education from Florida State University (Ph.D.), Ithaca College (M.M.), and Texas Christian University (B.M.E.). His research interests include performance perceptions, string instrument vibrato, and music preferences. He has most recently published articles in the String Research Journal, Music Educators Journal, and Contributions to Music Education along with several state music education journals, and he is currently writing a book chapter for the Oxford Handbook of Preservice Music Teacher Education in the United States published by Oxford University Press. Outside of his academic pursuits, Dr. Mick is an avid bicyclist who enjoys spending time with his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Moore, DVM, restoring their c.1883 downtown Ithaca home.