James grew up near Bristol, where he started learning the viola at primary school in a class with six other children. This opportunity has helped make him a firm believer in pupils being given the chance to learn an instrument in school and that they should start on viola!
He gained a place at the Royal Northern College of Music where he studied with Nicholas Logie, then Roger Benedict for a postgraduate year, when he was awarded the RNCM’s certificate in professional performance.
After leaving college he moved to Cardiff, from where he freelanced with many of Britain’s leading orchestras. James joined Royal Northern Sinfonia early in 2007, just after the birth of his first son, which was followed a few years later by the birth of his second son.
Since moving to the North East, James has appeared with a number of chamber ensembles and continues to freelance with other orchestras, often as guest principal, whilst enjoying all aspects of the RNS output, particularly chamber music and the touring to distant and interesting places.
He lives in Low Fell with his family. They like to go on (shortish) walks in the countryside and to nearby nature reserves. He runs a bit and plays golf, infrequently and very badly.