James is a pianist, conductor and composer with a strong background in theatre and contemporary music. He has led as a varied performing career of chamber and duo performances at venues including The Barbican, Royal Albert Hall, South Bank Centre, St. John’s Smith Square and Wigmore Hall; BBC Radio and the Bath, Ryedale and Chichester festivals, with musicians such as Roger Heaton, Jane Manning, O Duo, musician-comedian Rainer Hersch, baritone John Savournin and pianist Neil Georgeson. As a composer he has received commissions from Stratford-on-Avon Festival, Phoenix Piano Trio, Park Lane Group and the European Union Chamber Orchestra. James’ recordings can be found on NMC and Champs Hill Records, and 2014 saw the release of his first work for solo harp (“witty, clever and highly attractive” musicweb-international) on a disc of British harp music performed by Keziah Thomas. As a musical director he works at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival where he has conducted the first performances of over 50 works by such composers as Errollyn Wallen, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Gary Carpenter, Charlotte Bray, Ergo Phizmiz and Philip Venables. Previous theatre credits include five years as MD of Charles Court Opera’s legendary pantomime at the Rosemary Branch Theatre, culminating in his co-writing of the “masterful and original boutique riot,” Beowulf.
In 2014 Third Hand produced his first opera, Njogel (“enchanting… a treat from start to end” Bachtrack) with libretto by Neil Georgeson. He creates experimental music theatre including Six Word Operas and the improvised, surrealist Event 001.
James joined Piano Circus in 2009.