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Meet the Musician

Chief Musician James R. Swarts,

Principal Percussion


MU1 James R. Swarts                                                                             

Chief Musician Jim Swarts, a native of Portland, Ore., joined the Navy Band in June 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School where was a student of the Gregory Zuber, principal percussionist of the Metropolitan Opera and a Master of Music from Temple University, where he was a student of Alan Abel, former assistant principal percussionist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Opera, Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Grammy-nominated Absolute Ensemble. An active and in-demand performer, Swarts appears regularly with the Washington Concert Opera, Choral Arts Society of Washington, Master Chorale, Cathedral Choral Society, Washington Chorus, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, and he remains a regularly engaged musician with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Swarts has been privileged to work with some of the world's leading conductors including Seiji Ozawa, David Robertson, Robert Spano, Charles Dutiot, Kurt Masur, Claudio Abbado, James DePreist, Keith Lockhart, Leonard Slatkin, JahJa Ling, and Neeme Jarvi, to name a few. Additionally, he was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and Music Academy of the West. He enjoys spending his free time racing bicycles in road and cyclo-cross events in the Washington area.