William James

William James


Principal St. Louis Post-Dispatch Foundation Chair

William J. James is Principal Percussion of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He won the position at the age of 25 while a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. He graduated from the New England Conservatory in 2006 with a Masters of Music and was a student of Will Hudgins of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. James received his Bachelor of Music Degree from Northwestern University in 2004. While attending Northwestern, he studied with Michael Burritt, an active soloist and clinician throughout the country, and James Ross, a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

James has played with many outstanding ensembles including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, and Chautauqua Festival Orchestra. In addition to his experience as an orchestral player, he has performed several solo recitals across the country as well as soloing with the St. Louis Symphony and the New World Symphony. In addition to these accomplishments, James has continued his career as a chamber musician in St. Louis. He is a regular artist performing with the Pulitzer Foundation Chamber Music Series and plays in a Percussion and Piano Duo with Peter Henderson.

James is a very active educator in the percussion community. His book The Modern Concert Snare Drum Roll has been met with critical acclaim as a much-needed resource for both teachers and students. He has a studio of local students in St. Louis and has given countless master classes across the country teaching the next generation of great percussionists at numerous colleges, summer festivals, Days of Percussion, and universities.

James is very involved in the Percussive Arts Society (PAS). His articles have been published in Percussive Notes, the PAS periodical, he has presented at the 2010, 2012, and 2014 PAS International Conventions, and is currently serving on the PAS Symphonic Committee. James proudly uses Zildjian Cymbals, Malletech Sticks and Instruments, Evans Drumheads, and Grover Percussion Products in all of his musical projects and performances. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, James visits the Old North State often, where he enjoys the outdoors and still pulls for his favorite sports teams.

You can find out more about Will James at williamjamespercussion.com.