James Zimmermann joined the Nashville Symphony as Principal Clarinet in 2008. Originally from Hillsborough, New Jersey, James holds a B.M. from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and a M.M. from the University of Minnesota. His principal teachers were Yehuda Gilad and Burt Hara. James has performed at music festivals such as the National Repertory Orchestra, Sarasota Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was awarded the Gino B. Cioffi Prize for Outstanding Woodwind Performance. Prior to joining the Nashville Symphony, James was a member of the Pacific Symphony.

James works closely with the symphony’s education and community engagement programs — he is a private teacher at the W.O. Smith School and also gives workshops and performs in many Nashville schools and community centers. He has served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music, and he has presented masterclasses at most of Middle Tennessee's major universities, including Tennessee Technological University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Belmont University. Additionally, James maintains a private teaching studio and plays on a wide variety of recording projects all around Nashville.

James is an active recording musician, and his playing can be heard in virtually every genre of commercial music, including films, theme parks (such as Disney World and Sea World), video games, advertisements, and television.