Dr. James Shrader was appointed Professor of Music and Head of the Department of Music at Valdosta State University in 2006.
Dr. Shrader has combined careers as an administrator, choral conductor, stage director, and operatic tenor. In 1995, Dr. Shrader joined the music faculty at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma. A tenured Professor of Music, he served as Chairman of the Department of Music and Director of Choral Studies. He taught conducting, music history, and music education courses in addition to choral ensembles and opera workshop. Under Dr. Shrader's direction, Northwestern's University Chorale completed critically acclaimed tours to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Missouri, and Phoenix, Arizona. From 1990-1994, Dr. Shrader served on the voice faculty at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, where he was also Associate Director of Choral Activities. In 1994, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Education and Associate Director of Choral Activities at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. He holds the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Fine Arts (Choral Conducting) from Texas Tech where his dissertation was entitled The Choruses in Mozart's Opere Serie: Practical Performance Possibilities. Dr. Shrader received the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, and the Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Further studies have included the Cambridge Choral Seminar at Clare College, Cambridge, England. For thirteen years, Dr. Shrader was Director of Music and Fine Arts at the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland (ABCUSA). He is past-president of the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians and past-president of the Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Association.
As an operatic tenor, he appeared in over thirty leading roles under the batons of maestros such as Sixten Ehrling, Franz Allers, Robert Page, and Victor Borge. As a stage director, he was formerly Director of Opera Programs at the University of Akron, Ohio and the founder and artistic director of The Happy Ending Lyric Players, an award-winning community theater ensemble in Cleveland, Ohio.
Dr. Shrader was the General Director and tour leader of the Oklahoma Ambassadors of Music and, from 1999 - 2005, led that group on very successful European tours. He is the former chorus master for Tulsa Opera where he prepared nine productions for live performances and broadcasts on National Public Radio stations. In addition to concerts and services associated with his church and university positions, he has conducted performances in Great Britain at Canterbury and Ely Cathedrals; Dunfirmline Abbey, Scotland; Holy Innocents Church, Manchester; and in London at St. Martin's in the Field, Wesley Chapel, All Souls Church, and Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church; as well as concerts in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, Italy.
Dr. Shrader is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music, the American Choral Director's Association, the Music Educator's National Conference, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He has been clinician/conductor for the Tri-State Music Festival, both the Eastern and Western Oklahoma Honor Choirs, Circle the State with Song, the USAO Choral Festival, and the Western Oklahoma College Messiah. Dr. Shrader is married to soprano and vocal pedagogy and higher education administration specialist, Dr. Aija Shrader. The Shraders have two children: Alek, an operatic tenor on the international roster of Columbia Artists Management, Inc., and Dorothy, a recent vocal performance graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ.