James O'Donnell has developed an international reputation as an organist. He has given recitals in Britain, Europe, the United States and Australasia, as well as having made solo appearances at the Proms and broadcast many times on BBC Radio 3. In 1987 he won first prize in the competition for the Royal College of Organists' Performer of the Year award. He has worked as a conductor with many distinguished groups, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium, the BBC Singers, the City of London Sinfonia and the Hanover Band. He has appeared as a soloist and continuo player in recordings and concerts with many leading period-instrument ensembles, notably The King's Consort and the Gabrieli Consort and Players. In 1997 he was appointed Professor of Organ at the Royal Academy of Music, where he also lectures in church music studies. He has served on the Council of the Royal College of Organists for ten years.