James was born in Melbourne Australia in 1974. At the age of sixteen he achieved a Licentiate of Music (L. Mus A.) in clarinet A.M.E.B. (Australian Music Examination Board) The youngest candidate in Australia to achieve this diploma. Through the ages of 14 to 18 he performed solo concertos with Heildelburg Symphony Orchestra, Percy Granger Youth Orchestra and Melbourne Youth Orchestra. At the age of 17 he became ‘Yamaha endorsed’, sponsored by the company and sent on scholarships to study privately with clarinetists around the world.
He went on to obtain his BAMus performance from Griffith University Queensland studying under Floyd Williams and Paul Dean. Professionally he has played extensively with Queensland Symphony, Queensland Philharmonic, and toured with the Queensland Opera and Ballet Orchestra as both clarinetist and Bass clarinetist. He won the full time position of Sub Principle Clarinet in the Auckland Philharmonia in his last year of his degree (1998), the position he still holds.
James continues to extend his professional development with in devours that have included: Traveling extensively in 2001 through Europe, playing, learning and teaching. In 2008 James was awarded the Auckland Philharmonia foundation scholarship which allowed him to travel for six weeks furthering his professional development in the USA and Europe. In 2009 he won a year contract to play principle Bass Clarinet with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Chamber music also plays an important role in his performance career, involving performance series and child education workshops each year which tour throughout New Zealand and, since 2007, James has been the senior lecturer of the clarinet department at Auckland University.
Michael and Dame Rosie Horton