James took up the recorder aged seven and remains captivated by this most simple yet versatile of instruments. He enjoys a varied musical existence reflecting his eclectic tastes and repertoire that span the Middle Ages to “wet on the page” and his firm belief that there is no musical genre to which the recorder cannot contribute successfully.
His work with the British Paraorchestra under its founder and Musical Director Charles Hazlewood, has seen him duet with a harmonica, perform Corelli with the Southbank Sinfonia and appear at the 2012 Paralympic closing ceremony with Coldplay. James is also part of Tactile, a new improvisation ensemble directed by vibraphone player and composer Jackie Wallduck.
His debut album of music for solo recorder entitled ‘Echoes of Arcadia’ has been described by the Recorder Magazine as “an excellent disc that communicates the sonority, versatility and virtuosity of the solo recorder brilliantly.”
He has worked with several harpsichordists, organists and pianists giving recitals at, among others, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Regent Hall and The Handel House Museum in London; The Great Hall, Dartington; the Treasury Music Society; King’s Lynn Minster; Anglesey Abbey and Eton Hall, Chester. In 2015 he made his debut appearance at the Wigmore Hall with theorbo player Matthew Wadsworth in a concert celebrating the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott memorial fund which supported James’s studies. In 2016 they appeared on BBC2’s Proms Extra programme.
James has appeared as soloist with the Prague Chamber Orchestra and Czech Virtuosi in the Czech Republic, London Musici alongside Piers Adams and Devon Baroque under violinist Margaret Faultless. More unusual engagements have included the Bath & West Showground for a staging of Britten’s Noyes Fludde, a pod on the London Eye and a performance for the Japanese government in Soporo.
James studied with Alan Davis in Birmingham and latterly Rebecca Miles in London, gaining his LRSM with distinction. In 2011 he was runner-up in the international competition for blind musicians held at the Jan Dale Conservatoire in Prague.
Since 2008, James has been the Music Officer at RNIB supporting blind and partially sighted musicians. This varied work has seen him lead workshops at the Handel House Museum and Wigmore Hall; feature on Radio 3 for a celebration of Louis Braille’s bicentenary and perform with members of the RPO at the London Aquarium.
James gained a BA in French and German from the University of Swansea and a Master’s in German Translation Studies from Leeds University in 2003.
James is also a former Paralympian having competed at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta with the Great Britain men’s goalball team. In addition he competed in three European Championships and is a seven times winner of the UK National Goalball Cup with his adopted team Goalball West Midlands.
Away from the recorder, James also enjoys cricket, stand-up comedy, reading, coffee and railway travel.
You can get in touch with James via the Contact page.