James' passion for choral music was enriched at a young age singing in both The Four Counties Youth Choir and The Sirenian Singers, Wrexham. He was also a member of the National Youth Choir's of both Wales and Great Britain, he was a founder member of the National Chamber Choir. His musical education continued in Birmingham where he gained his B Mus (Hons) and MMus degrees with distinction.
James conducted the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain for 11 years, where his initiatives saw the formation of the National Children’s Training Choir and also Dulce Corum (the National Girls’ Chamber Choir of Great Britain).
He has conducted some of the world's leading childrens' choirs including the European Union Children’s Chorus, Hungary; the Canzonetta Children’s Choirs of Manchester – formally the Manchester Boys’ Choir; the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, Chicago and has undertaken several invitations from the Toronto Children’s Chorus - firmly regarded as the foremost children's ensemble.
In 2006, James succeeded D. Clive Griffiths M.B.E as Director of Côr Meibion Canoldir, Birmingham. Under his direction the choir have achieved an outstanding record of success in the competitive arena. Two 1st prizes at the Jersey International Choral Festival, including the jury's award for best musical interpretation, when Sir David Willcocks said of Canoldir, “This is how Male Voice Choirs should, but rarely do sound.” Three 1st prizes followed in 2011, at Europe's largest male choral festival in Cornwall. James was commended by the international jury for his innovative competitive programming and the choir’s unique style and consistently high, technically assured performance. In November 2014 Canoldir triumphed again winning the North Wales Choral Festival in Llandudno.
James has toured extensively throughout Europe and to America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Notable performances in the Cathedrals of Barcelona; Notre Dame, Paris; St. Mary's, Sydney; St. Stephen's, Brisbane and St. Mark's Basilica, Venice.
He is in demand as a choral clinician and workshop leader. At the invitation of International Choral Federations he has undertaken workshops in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Auckland and in Vancouver, Toronto and Chicago following a successful visit in 2008 when he conducted a massed symposium of over 400 children for the Glen Ellyn Children’s Choirs, Chicago.
James has also had the honour of being a guest conductor with the City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus, and under his direction the Senior Choirs and Chamber Choir from Edgbaston High School for Girls’ performed to great acclaim and appeared as Guest Artistes for Hayley Westenra’s ‘Christmas Wishes Concert’ at Symphony Hall.
He is the Musical Director of The Midlands Hospitals' Choir and The Phoenix Singers, Bournville.
James is delighted to be immersing himself, once again, in the rich choral traditions of the area. He is thoroughly enjoying working with the choir and getting to know all the singers and he is most grateful to the chaps and their families for the warm welcome they have given him.