Music has always been a huge part of my life. From classroom recorder to starting the clarinet at age eight I have always felt very comfortable playing a woodwind instrument. After successfully auditioning for a specialist music high school I came home and mentioned that I may want to start playing the violin. After being reminded that I was always a blower and not a plucker I soon realised it was only the bassoon for me. Once I started it was an amazing roller coaster of opportunity as not many ensembles had a bassoon!

The wonderful level of care and tuition I received all the way through until the end of my undergraduate degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music is something I’ll always be grateful for. It gave me the confidence and belief to move to London and study at the Royal College of Music. Two years of world class tuition with Joost Bosdijk and Julie Price gave me the skillset to follow my passion for music and now as a member of Southbank Sinfonia I can perform at a high level week in week out with outstanding colleagues.

London has helped me grow as an artist and as a person. Playing with orchestras such as BBCSO, CBSO and Aarhus Symphony means I am fortunate enough to do what I love on a daily basis.

Family, friends, food and exploring this inspiring city is the fuel that helps me pursue my dream.


Royal College of Music
London, UK

Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Sydney, Australia

Quickfire Questions

What is your favourite piece of music and why do you love it?
I think it would be I Hung My Head by Sting. It is the perfect balance of melody, orchestration and powerful Johnny Cash lyrics.

Where’s your favourite place to listen to music and why?
On a nice hot summer’s Boxing Day in Sydney. Sitting back with some good friends and family, relaxing with a cold beer and a sausage sizzle waiting for the cricket to start.

How would you persuade someone who has never heard ‘classical music’ before to come with you to a concert?
Take them to a really large symphonic project. The sheer turbo charged power of the full symphony orchestra is always something people will marvel at whether they’re new to it or not. A comp ticket always helps too!

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I’ve been bitten by a snake we found in my mates living room! (Luckily it wasn’t venomous).

James is a member of the 2020-2021 fellowship.