J. Aaron Hardwick

Assistant Professor of Music

Symphony Orchestra Director

James “Aaron” Hardwick has established a reputation as an outstanding conductor, educator, and music advocate—setting himself apart with his engaging, charismatic and musically precise approach on and off the podium. Highly versatile and musically insightful, his artistic collaborations span multiple genres including standard classical repertoire, musical theater, opera, video game music, popular music, and new works.

He has worked with the Ruebush Brass Ensemble, Brevard Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Williamsburg Symphony, Aiken Symphony Orchestra, CICA (Collaborations in Contemporary Art) Ensemble, Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony, University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, East Carolina University Symphony Orchestra, Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia, among others. He was a finalist for the 2021 Erno Lányi International Conducting Competition and participated in the 2020 European Union International Conducting Competition. He is an Eastman School of Music Summer Conducting Fellow with the Rochester Philharmonic, and a two-time Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina Conducting Fellow.

Hardwick is also recognized as an award-winning educator and guest clinician. He was named one of Hampton Roads’ “Most Outstanding Music Educators” two years in a row by the Virginia Symphony, was nominated by the Grammy Foundation® and the Recording Academy® as a quarterfinalist for the Music Educator Award in 2014.  In 2011 he received the Distinguished Music Educator’s Award from Yale University.

He studied conducting under Jan Wagner; Ditson Award-winning conductor Donald Portnoy, and Neil Varon of the Eastman School of Music. He holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts (Conducting) from Shenandoah Conservatory, a Master’s in Music (Conducting) from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor’s in Music from East Carolina University. As a professional violist, he has worked with the New York City Ballet Company, Shenandoah Summer Music Theater, Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony, University of South Carolina (UofSC) Opera, UofSC Symphony Orchestra, Brevard Philharmonic and Aiken Symphony Orchestras.

Follow Mr. Hardwick online:
Facebook @HardwickMusic
Twitter @HardwickMusic
Instagram @aarockWebsite