Professor of Music, James A. Holleman, has served for 25-years as Music Department Chairman and Music Director of Orchestras and Choirs for the John E.N. & Dede Howard Department of Music at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. During his tenure, the Music Department and ensembles have grown to new heights in all areas. Currently, over twenty-five percent of the entire student body participates in music department ensembles; one-third of the campus participates in the Music Department in some capacity. In addition, he was a key figure in Hillsdale College’s vision for the creation/construction, and involved in the design, of both the Howard Music Building (dedicated April 2003) and Christ Chapel (dedicated October 2019). The Hillsdale College Symphony Orchestra, under his baton, was selected to perform at the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA) 2017 National Conference in Washington, DC. The orchestra was awarded Second Prize in the 2018 American Prize College Orchestra Division. Holleman was also named as a finalist in the 2018 American Prize University/College Orchestral Conducting Category, for which he received a special judges’ citation for “Artistic Success in Exceptional Repertoire.” Under his direction, the Hillsdale College Chamber Choir, formed by Holleman in 1998, has performed in numerous venues across the country and in various featured performances on campus and across Michigan. Both the Chamber Choir and the College Choir (the oldest established college choir in the state of Michigan) have recorded multiple CD recordings and provided recordings for several Hillsdale College promotional videos. Holleman was the recipient of the Hillsdale College Emily Daugherty Award for Teaching Excellence in the fall of 1998.
He currently serves on the CODA National Board of Directors as National President Elect, having previously served as National Vice President for two years. He will succeed to the office of National President in January, 2023. He is also an active member of The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and The National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO). Professor Holleman is twice a graduate of Michigan State University where he received a Bachelor of Music Degree in French Horn Performance (1986) and a Master of Music Degree in Orchestral Conducting (1989). After graduate school, he studied conducting at the Conductors’ Institute in Columbia, SC (1989), the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene, OR (1993, 1994), and at numerous workshops with The Conductors Guild and The League of American Orchestras. Prior to his appointment at Hillsdale College, he was the Assistant Conductor of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Jackson Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of the Jackson Chorale (MI). As a French horn player, he held positions with several orchestras in Michigan and Tennessee.