Maestro James

In his 31 years of leadership of the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association (WMPA), Ulysses James has emphasized the performance of new and exciting musical compositions, supported local and emerging artists, and worked to make musical performances accessible to the Alexandria community.

James graduated with honors from Brown University in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in music and was accepted for graduate study at both the New England Conservatory and Indiana University. Subsequently, he served as a Regular Naval Officer for 20 years, retiring as a Commander in 1979 after 13 Vietnam campaigns and with five Commendation Medals.

Ulysses James’ vision and leadership has guided WMPA’s five year-round programs, which include the WMP ‘Philharmonic’ of auditioned professional, semi-professional and amateur adult musicians performing five concerts in Alexandria and five concerts in Washington, D.C. annually; the 45-50 member Washington Metropolitan Youth Orchestra for talented high school youth, giving five concerts per year; the 40-45 member Washington Metropolitan Concert Orchestra for young musicians in grades six to nine, which performs three to four concerts per year; the WMPA Summer Chamber Concerts Series which annually offers 14-16 free concerts at Alexandria’s Lyceum; and the yearly WMPA Composition Competition for new and emerging East Coast composers.

Alexandria and its arts community will be for years to come, the beneficiaries of Ulysses James’ many years of exemplary leadership and service.