Tell us a bit about yourself, and your training to date.

I started singing, like many others, in a church choir as a boy and I suppose that somehow wormed its way into my brain, as I ended up at St. John’s College, Cambridge, which I regard as my main formation as a musician. I came up to Oxford… to study. OBS was an absolutely perfect fit, as an opportunity to keep on performing at a high level and learning a great deal musically while I was in the city.

What attracted you to the Oxford Bach Soloists?

It was very clear from when I heard about OBS that it was an organisation which took the quality of its performances incredibly seriously, and that appealed enormously to me… I love the music. It was also obvious that this was going to be such a great opportunity to broaden my horizons and to improve as a singer… Learn by doing!

What has been your favourite moment as an OBS choral scholar?

I think the very last concert before it became impossible to perform this year had some of my favourite moments. The pronunciation of German … had been something upon which I’d been focusing pretty intently, and for whatever reason, in that concert, it all came together, which was a marvellous feeling. It’s that kind of performance, where everything really comes together, that makes performing with an organisation like OBS very special.

What do you see as the value of ensembles like OBS to young aspiring musicians?

Learning. The opportunities to learn have been phenomenal. Coaching from Gerhard and Tom has been absolutely brilliant, and there’s been so much more of it than I could have possibly anticipated. You feel supported, and as though everyone really wants you to be able to perform at the highest level you possibly can, which is the very best context in which a young musician could find themselves. And, as I say, the quality is so high that every performance is an absolute joy.

This is an excerpt from James’s full interview – to receive the entirety of our Choral Scholar Focuses (and more!) subscribe to our mailing list here

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