Experimenting with sounds is addictive, a unique form of communication; it feels like a superpower.

James' journey into music began through childhood singing and worship, but it was later in high school where he discovered his true passion: composition. 

In those years you could find him, for hours every day, glued to a piano, creating and exploring. This passion drove him to pursue formal lessons at the Royal Academy of Music, studying under Gary Carpenter and David Sawer, who proved crucial in his growth and exposure to great music. Meeting and learning from Sir Peter Maxwell Davies also left an indelible mark, inspiring james with his ethos and humble but larger-than-life persona. Speaking of this introduction, James says:

"His musical insights still linger to this day…" 


Since then, James has forged ahead and collaborated with great artists around the world. His music has been broadcast, performed, recorded and has even become part of the national curriculum. In his work, he has reacted to the poetry of Dylan Thomas, the biblical story of Jacob's ladder, and honoured individuals such as Paul Stephenson and his work starting the civil rights movement in this country in the 60s, and recently used AI in a 2023 work exploring ancient Japanese death haikus. 

James' work now aims to resonate with audiences, sometimes addressing pressing issues and looking to the interior to tell the stories of his thoughts and share his imagination in sound.

"Supported by incredible artists and orchestras like the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chineke!, and now YCAT, I am grateful for the opportunity to share my music with those who encounter it."


  • In 2023, James' piece 1922, a tribute to a century of broadcasting, (commissioned by the BBC), was heard by a million strong audience globally at the historic Last Night Of The Proms. 

  • Also in 2023 his orchestral work Eden, commissioned by RVW Trust and performed by the CBSO opened the Cheltenham Festival and paid tribute to Vaughan Williams in his 150th year celebration.

  • James' landmark work Remnants, re-opened the Southbank centre after 2020’s tragic covid epidemic. It was later named as one of “11 crucial musical moments from a century of the BBC”

  • James’s work, Ose Ayo, was commissioned and performed at the historic restitution ceremony, which, in a world first, returned a Benin Bronze (The Cockerel) from Jesus College, Cambridge, to the Nigerian Royal Family 27th October 2021

  • James is an NMC Recording Artist and his music is broadcast internationally


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Photo (Banner) © Beth Walsh Photography/Orchestras Live/Nottinghamshire Share Sound

Photo (Article) © Evan Dawson Photography

James' work is commissioned by YCAT and the Royal Philharmonic Society in memory of Colin Clark, as an additional Fellowship for the inaugural year in celebration of YCAT's 40th anniversary.

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