James, who hails from the cathedral town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, is currently studying on the Artists Masters in Performance programme as a Leverhulme Scholar at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is also supported in his studies by the Chizel Education Trust and the Francis Bernard Caunt Education Trust.
His first project at the Guildhall was an evening of Zarzuela in collaboration with the British-Spanish Society. In November, James performed as the ‘Madwoman’ in Britten’s Curlew River. He is looking forward to next term’s activities, which include taking part in a concert of music by Rossini with Emanuele Moris, a project on Schubert’s Schwanengesang with Iain Burnside, and The Seven Ages of Man: a Song Guild recital with Graham Johnson.
Before his postgraduate studies, James was both a Lay Clerk and the Marketing and Communications Officer for the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. Alongside performing in the choir’s daily services, he was able to perform with other ensembles that include the Monteverdi Choir and Tenebrae. Operatic roles whilst in Cambridge include: ‘Male Chorus’ Britten The Rape of Lucretia, ‘Tamino’ Mozart Die Zauberflöte, ‘Tobias’ Dove Tobias and the Angel, ‘Box’ Sullivan Cox and Box. He also performed Britten’s Les Illuminations with string orchestra in St John’s College Chapel as well as the solos in Mozart Requiem at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Whilst fulfilling his role as Marketing and Communications Officer, he managed the choir’s award-winning ‘St John’s Cambridge’ label in collaboration with Signum Records, introduced regular video productions on the choir’s activities, and directed the filming of the first live-streamed Evensong at St John’s.
James began his musical development as a chorister at Southwell Minster under Paul Hale. His undergraduate degree was in History at the University of York, and during his studies there he was able to partake in the musical scene there. As well as writing a dissertation on the liturgical music written in the reign of Mary I, he took an elective module in early Renaissance vocal music with Robert Hollingworth, played as the principal trombonist in the university symphony orchestra, and featured as ‘Pluto’ in Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers and ‘Samiel’ in Der Freischütz, his first operatic performance. After graduating from York, James took part in the Genesis Sixteen programme, as well as singing with the choirs of Worcester Cathedral and the Queen’s College, Oxford.
He currently studies with Adrian Thompson and Susan Waters at the Guildhall. In the past, he has had the pleasure to study regularly with Russell Smythe, David Lowe, Bronwen Mills, Ashley Stafford, Joshua Ellicott and Nicki Kennedy. James has performed in masterclasses with Dame Emma Kirkby, Nicholas Mulroy, and Jane Glover.
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