Conductor and violist William James McClain has appeared in major venues across the United States and abroad including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Sheremetev Palace in Saint Petersburg Russia. He has conducted professional, community, and talented youth orchestras for over twenty years. In the spring of 2006 he conducted Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite with the Macon Symphony Orchestra in Georgia as the 2005 winner of the International Conductors Workshop and Festival Competition. Since then he has been awarded that distinction again and invited back to lead the Macon Symphony as a guest conductor. Dr. McClain was also honored by the International Academy of Advanced Conducting in Saint Petersburg Russia where he conducted the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic’s Congress Orchestra. Dr. McClain has also appeared as guest conductor with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Onondaga Civic Orchestra in upstate New York.
As a violist Dr. McClain has recorded with the Adriane String Quartet (faculty string quartet at Ithaca College) and maintains an active chamber music and solo recital schedule most recently appearing on “The Night of Chamber Music,” part of the Guest Artist Series at Georgia Military College and the New Hampshire Music Festival. A former member of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and the Tri-Cities Opera Orchestra Dr. McClain has also performed with the Bakersfield Symphony, Austin Symphony, and was principal violist for the Allentown Symphony and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. He is currently principal violist of Orchestra Noir in Atlanta, Georgia, a member of the Macon Symphony Orchestra, and serves as principal violist during the annual Colour of Music Festival held in Charleston, South Carolina.
Dr. McClain has taught undergraduate viola at Ithaca College and The University of Maryland at College Park as a graduate assistant. He was also invited to teach viola and violin as a guest artist at Huston Tillotson College and Mercer University. Dr. McClain is a former faculty member at Phillips Exeter Academy where he was named the John and Elizabeth Phillips Fellow. While at the academy he was director of the chamber music program, conducted the Exeter Symphony Orchestra, founded the Exeter Symphonia, and taught in the music theory program.
A native of Washington D.C. Dr. McClain is currently an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestras at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. Dr. McClain received degrees in conducting and viola performance from The University of Maryland, Ithaca College and The University of Texas at Austin.
Academic Department: Department of Music
College: College of Arts and Sciences