B i o g r a p h y
James was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1983, and holds both a BA Music, MMUS Performance degrees and recently received his diploma as an Associate of the Royal Schools of Music. James began to teach himself from a young age before beginning formal piano tuition with Howard Williams when he attended St.Peter’s High School, Gloucester. Before leaving he was awarded the Governor’s Award for Services to Music. After leaving school, James continued lessons with Linda Parsons with whom he worked his way through ABRSM Grade Exams and who continues to be an important mentor for him.
He read music at Bath Spa University, where he was heavily involved as a soloist, lieder and opera accompanist, chamber musician and conductor. He continued his studies at Bath Spa gaining an M.Mus Performance. James has been very fortunate to continue his studies at a number of piano summer courses, masterclasses and workshops with highly established concert pianists including Steven Osborne, Benjamin Frith, Phillip Fowke, Murray McLachlan, Craig Sheppard, Leslie Howard and Peter Donohoe CBE.
He was awarded the Dr. Janet Salisbury Cup as part of the 2008 Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts and continues to work with the festival every year in May as one of their registered accompanists.
James teaches piano privately, and currently has a wide range of pupils from 6 to 60, ranging from complete beginners to teaching advanced pianists for Grade Exams. He currently works as a visiting Piano Teacher at Longlevens Junior School, where he also taught at Elmbridge Primary School for a few years prior. He is also an experienced freelance accompanist for exams, festivals and competitions and also enjoys composing and arranging. Some of his recent compositions have been performed by Churchdown Male Voice Choir, the Innsworth Military Wives, Philomusica and more recently he composed a song for the 1100th celebration of Aethelflaed back in 2018.
James also plays the organ for several churches in Gloucester and is a regular organist for services at churches such as St Swithun’s, St. Barnabas, and has even been very fortunate to have played on the organ of Gloucester Cathedral for concerts and a lesson on Manchester Cathedral organ, and now studies privately with the Director of Music, Adrian Partington at Gloucester Cathedral.
He continues his roles as the Accompanist for the Churchdown Male Voice Choir and the Innsworth Military Wives Choir and has also worked with other choirs including Churchdown Choral Society, Cheltenham Youth Choir and the Grande Royale Academy. He is a member of Philomusica of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire with whom he also sings as a Bass-Baritone. James continues as an accompanist with the Cotswold Savoyards whose recent productions have included My Fair Lady, Oliver! and Calamity Jane and have started on their next production of The Sound of Music for the Spring of 2022.
Some of his career highlights include his debuts in the 2019 Cheltenham Music Festival where he was involved in both the rehearsal and performance of a new community opera 'Above The Skies' composed by Michael Betteridge and directed by Bryn Holding, conducted by Glyn Oxxley. James also made his first major appearance in a concert as part of the 3 Choirs Festival of the life of the Gloucestershire Poet Will Harvey accompanying the Sabrinensis Choir with conductor Judith Sheridan.
James also made his first full length debut on BBC Radio Gloucestershire in January 2020, where he was interviewed by Pete Wilson, focusing on his musical life and journey to the present. This also featured recordings of Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Debussy, which were all given high praise from listeners.
James is also a founder member of a newly established piano trio, Pianissami with Joshua Crunden and John Kerr. They have given recitals in St. Mary de Crypt in Gloucester and Holy Trinity Church in Stroud with more planned for the 2022. James’ other recent engagements have included collaborations with Vicki & Sebastian Field, violinist Joshua Crunden, baritone Aidan Smith as well as accompanying in the 2018 Gloucester Music and History Festivals.
Throughout the times of one lockdown to another during the Covid-19 global pandemic, James took the opportunity to embrace the ways of live-streaming with several online free recitals to help support everyone during the crisis. From playing classical piano recitals, musicals, hymn requests and so much more this gave birth to his own podcast which was released in February 2021 entitled Relaxing Piano Playlist. Since then, with all the current episodes of Series 1 and 2 so far combined, his podcast has exceeded 29,500 downloads around the world. Series 2 is now available and a 3rd series began from September which coincides with his recorded videos on Facebook.