In 1981 he was invited by Claudio Abbado to lead the European Youth Orchestra, and subsequently became the first leader of the newly formed Chamber Orchestra of Europe working with some of the world’s greatest musicians including Solti, Pollini, Barenboim and Abbado.
As a member of the Endellion Quartet from 1984 chamber music became an increasingly important music activity. James was also active with the Raphael Ensemble, playing regularly on radio and producing several well received discs of Brahms and Dvořák Sextets.
For five years until 1990 James was leader of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and from 1990 to 1998, as leader, James took a major role in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s artistic development and high profile. Since 1999 James has been Concertmaster of the Philharmonia Orchestra, London, one of the world’s finest and most recorded symphony orchestras. He also continues to be in demand as a guest leader and chamber musician across Britain and Europe.
In 2004 James was also appointed Leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, a post he holds in tandem with that of the Philharmonia.
|Brahms: String Sextets|
'Glorious performances … [they] can take their place beside any of the great chamber music recordings of the past, and will continue to set stand ...
'These are superb performances; the recording is vivid and immediate' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)» More
|Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music|
'The pick of this crop has to be Brahms's Complete Chamber Music from Hyperion. Spanning more than two decades, this box contains the finest, mainly B ...
'Immerse yourself in this set of 12 CDs of Brahms's chamber music … in the last 25 years, Hyperion has managed to persuade some of the finest of ...» More
|Bridge: Early Chamber Music|
'The Raphael Ensemble plays with passion and sensitivity and is beautifully recorded' (Fanfare, USA)
'L'enthousiasme des Raphael, justement signataires d'une splendide gravure des deux quintettes de Brahms, ne se dément pas: les contrastes dûment acce ...» More
|Dvořák: String Quintet & String Sextet|
Thoroughly Romantic, endlessly imaginative and imbued with Slavonic fire, Dvořák’s String Quintet and String Sextet are elegantly performed by the virtuoso musicians of The Raphael Ensemble.» More
|Messiaen: Chamber Works|
British pianist Matthew Schellhorn is joined by the Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra in this recording of Olivier Messiaen's chamber works, including the eight-movement masterpiece Quatuor pour la fin du Temps, written while the compo ...» More
|The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1|
'You'll be discovering what a superb label Hyperion is' (The Modern Dance)» More
|JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897)|
|String Sextet No 1 in B flat major, Op 18with The Raphael Ensemble» More|
|String Sextet No 2 in G major, Op 36with The Raphael Ensemble» More|
|FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941)|
|String Quintet in E minorwith The Raphael Ensemble» More|
|String Sextet in E flat majorwith The Raphael Ensemble» More|
|ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)|
|String Quintet in E flat major, Op 97with The Raphael Ensemble» More|
|String Sextet in A major, Op 48with The Raphael Ensemble» More|
|OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992)|
|Fantaisiewith Matthew Schellhorn (piano)» More|
|Pièce pour piano et quatuor à cordeswith Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Matthew Schellhorn (piano)» More|
|Quatuor pour la fin du Tempswith Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Matthew Schellhorn (piano)» More|
|Abîme des oiseaux|
|Danse de la fureur pour les sept trompettes|
|Fouillis d'arcs-en-ciel, pour l'Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps|
|Liturgie de cristal|
|Louange à l'éternité de Jésus|
|Louange à l'immortalité de Jésus|
|Pièce pour piano et quatuor à cordes (Messiaen)|
|Quatuor pour la fin du Temps (Messiaen)|
|String Quintet in E flat major, Op 97 (Dvořák)|
|String Quintet in E minor (Bridge)|
|String Sextet in A major, Op 48 (Dvořák)|
|String Sextet in E flat major (Bridge)|
|String Sextet No 1 in B flat major, Op 18 (Brahms)|
|String Sextet No 2 in G major, Op 36 (Brahms)|
|Vocalise, pour l'Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps|