The Collegiate Chorale, Kurt Weill's KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY

"Much of the breezy score for “Knickerbocker Holiday," the 1938 Broadway show by Kurt Weill (music) and Maxwell Anderson (book and lyrics), effervesces like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. To hear it vibrantly performed by the Collegiate Chorale and the American Symphony Orchestra (conducted by James Bagwell) at Alice Tully...

The Collegiate Chorale, KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY

"Here the book has been substantially shortened because the emphasis is on musical values -- the splendid choral writing and the rich orchestrations, elegantly performed by the American Symphony Orchestra under James Bagwell."

Howard Kissel, The Huffington Post

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Mostly Mozart Festival, Mozart's DAVIDDE PENITENTE

"The Concert Chorale of New York (James Bagwell, director) was splendid in the choruses, especially the elaborate contrapuntal pieces in which Mozart was inspired by the choral works of Bach, which were just becoming known in Vienna at the time."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

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A Lamb, a Book, and the Apocalypse at Bard Summerscape

"The choir, asked to portray at different times the terrified voices of Mankind in the midst of pestilence and war, a Greek chorus witnessing the Apocalypse (in horse-galloping rhythms), or the shrill avengers demanding the Last Judgment, was given a herculean task unlike anything heard before at Bard. James Bagwell,...

The Collegiate Chorale, Handel's ISRAEL IN EGYPT

"The Collegiate Chorale appeared on May 12 in NYU's Skirball Center with an invigorating performance of Handel's Israel in Egypt under the lively, pointed direction of James Bagwell.

Bagwell's arrayed forces did not match Victorian Crystal Palace proportions, but they made a mighty and a focused noise while maintaining good...

Mostly Mozart Festival, Haydn's THE CREATION

"In the joyous choruses that dot the work Mr. Langrée and the impressive Concert Chorale of New York, ably prepared by the director James Bagwell, captured the operatic dynamism of the music."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York...

Bard Summerscape, Meyerbeer's LES HUGUENOTS

"The chorus, no minor entity in such a monumental opera, did a fantastic job singing with great panache whilst remaining fully committed to their characters. They were the anchor of the show, providing the evening with the grand opera energy that is essential for Les Huguenots."

(James Bagwell, chorus...

Bard Summerscape, Meyerbeer's LES HUGUENOTS

"Chorus master James Bagwell did a magnificent job of molding the chorus of 50 into a powerful character in the drama, both as weighty, massed sound and as the battling, contrapuntal factions whose eternal differences are the tragic heart of the opera."

Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal...

Bard Summerscape, Gershwin's OF THEE I SING

"Only some of the humor, though, is echoed in the Gershwin score, which is most notable for three numbers: "Who Cares?" "Love Is Sweeping the Country," and the infectious title tune. It is played by an orchestra of 11 under the inspired direction of James Bagwell..."

Brian Scott...

Light Opera Oklahoma, Sondheim's INTO THE WOODS

"The score of "Into the Woods" is as sumptuous and tightly woven as a tapestry, and music director James Bagwell led the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra in a superb performance, easily it's best of this LOOK season. The balance between the pit and stage was flawlessly done; the deliberately "wrong" passages...

Light Opera Oklahoma, Bernstein's CANDIDE

"Music director James Bagwell's guiding of the Tulsa Sympony was impeccable; raucous and muscular, precise and delicate as needed, with a sound that seemed much larger than the number of players in the pit could produce."

James Watts, Tulsa...

Cincinnati May Festival, May Festival Youth Chorus

"The program opened with the May Festival Youth Chorus, led by James Bagwell, who is observing his 10th anniversary as its director. The wide-ranging program, spanning from the Renaissance to the present and beautifully performed by these young singers, was an impressive feat and testimony to Bagwell’s skill and leadership....

American Symphony Orchestra, Hiller's THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM

“The choral episodes, vibrantly sung by the excellent chorale (James Bagwell is the director), are the most impressive elements of the score, starting with the opening “Chorus of Israelites," vigorous music that swings broadly in a marching triple meter, as the voices sing proclamations in thick block harmonies, until a...

Light Opera Oklahoma, Sondeheim's SWEENEY TODD

"Music director James Bagwell did a superb job from the pit, guiding both singers and the Tulsa Symphony through a score with about as many time signature changes as notes, and harmonies at times as pointed and angular as a Frank Lloyd Wright building."

James Watts, Tulsa World...

Berkshire Bach Society Orchestra and Chorus

“Under Bagwell’s attentive direction, the chorus sang lustily, skillfully negotiating the delectable fugal counterpoint scattered about the second and third anthems."

Richard Houdek, Berkshire...

Bard Summerscape, Copeland's THE TENDER LAND

“The conductor James Bagwell delves beneath the surface of Copeland’s score—all open-spaced chords, comfortingly tonal harmony, folksy evocations of hymns, dances and ditties—to reveal the bustling rhythmic intensity and pungent chromatic bite of the music….If you think yourself immune to Copeland in his American mode, just try listening to...

Light Opera Oklahoma, Offenbach's La Périchole

“Offenbach wrote music designed primarily to charm. The pieces selected by music director James Bagwell bore that out—everything was bright, sparkling, and sweet as cherry-flavored club soda. And Bagwell led the LOOK orchestra in performance that played up the effervescence and played down the syrup, creating a sound that was...

Light Opera Oklahoma, Sullivan's THE MIKADO

“…it also revealed that LOOK orchestra is no mere pit band---that little snippet of Mozart had the right energy and sparkle, and the orchestra throughout the evening infused Sullivan’s score with the same qualities….it was superbly played, with a nimbleness and ease that comes only from a lot of...

American Symphony Orchestra, DALLAPICCOLA AND NONO

“Sensitively prepared by James Bagwell and sounding marvelously alert, the chorus did an especially outstanding job with Nono’s half-spoken sprechtstimme passages (including some lovely whispered portions). But the entire afternoon was marked by complete commitment, with the group responding with fervor to this unusual program. Every measure sprang to life....

Cincinnati May Festival, May Festival Youth Chorus

Scarlatti, Exultate Deo; Monteverdi, Ecco mormorar l’ondi; Palestrina, Sicut cervus

“Opening the concert, the May Festival Youth Chorus displayed poise and discipline in a group by Alessandro Scarlatti, Monteverdi, and Palestrina, conducted by James Bagwell.
Scarlatti’s Exultate Deo was a joyous opener in this radiant space. . . . Palestrina’s seamless polyphony was...

Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Handel's MESSIAH

“Bagwell lead a fast-moving concert, typified by a nimble choral sound and brisk tempos, with a minimum of pauses between one movement and the next. But it was anything but a once-over-lightly interpretation, thanks in part to the heights of expressiveness reached by the choir and soloists in the...

Cincinnati May Festival, May Festival Youth Chorus

Tavener, Eonia; Durufle, Tota pulchra es; Britten, Jubilate Deo

“More refined emotions greeted Sunday’s Basilica crowd, beginning with a lovely set by Bagwell and the Youth Chorus. The 65-voice high school chorus upstaged the elite Chamber Choir with its graceful vocalism and precise diction. . . ."

Mary Ellyn Hutton, The Cincinnati...

Indianapolis Chamber Singers

Josquin, Missa Pange Lingua; Landes, Images

“. . . Bagwell’s choir of paid professionals is a fine addition to the Hoosier capital’s music scene. . . . [they] gave a glowing account of the Josquin with razor-sharp attacks and releases, and on-the money collective sense of pitch, beautifully calculated swells and diminuendos. . . . The results might...