Welcome to my website!
I am currently based in York where I am undertaking a PhD in Composition on devising and notating collaborative music-theatre works.
Collaboration is significant to my process. I devise performances with musicians and artists, treating each piece as a performative event of theatre in its own right. My role can involve composing, arranging, performing, facilitating, directing, or often a combination.
I have enjoyed composing a wide range of pieces suitable for advanced and professional players; for primary and secondary schoolchildren; for solo instruments, through to orchestral works; site-specific works; scores for radio and theatre.
My works are self-published; scores/parts for perusal, purchase or performance are available on request.
I am always happy to hear from anyone looking to discuss music, collaborate on projects, or know more of what I do: feel free to get in touch.
I hope to hear from you soon,
Reviews of James’s music
‘pure music theatre…merriment”
(Martin Dreyer, York Press, on this piece gets more magical every time someone writes ill of it)
(Rian Evans, The Guardian online, on ‘For who digs hills because they do aspire’)
“a rich, ambitious work full of creative ideas. The piece radiated energy and engagement, capturing the strangely haunting, elemental tone of Ted Hughes’s imagery.”
(Steve Crowther, York Press, on Remains of Elmet)
“a very accessible piece of installation art with a nice conceit that fully exploits the instruments and their dynamic range. It was performed with humour and panache and the performers maintained the tension of the piece throughout… an example of how a simple idea can be transformed into a delightfully witty and satisfying performance.”
(Alan Gillott, One&Other York, on Brainbow mouse)
“endearing and tender”
(Alan Gillott, One&Other York, on wishes for the cloths of Heaven)
“impressive…the score is used sparingly…when beautifully performed string music is introduced, it serves only to enhance emotion and highlight important revelations.”
(Elisabeth Shuker, The Yorker, on The New World Order soundtrack)
“the devastating score…really adds to the play in its most important situations.”
(Tom Bonnington, YorkVision, on The New World Order soundtrack)
“a dramatic instrumental underscore…pivotal moments are enhanced by appropriate music…providing that extra tension, tenderness or drama that the key scenes need”
(Ben Bason, independent URY Speech Team reviewer, on The New World Order soundtrack)
“…brilliantly surrounded by music provided by James Whittle and his three-piece band…providing an eerie counterpart to the text, colouring it and increasing the drama and tension in the atmosphere of every scene, assisting some very seamless transitions…particularly impressive.”
(Paul Virides, YorkVision on Medea fragments)
“James Whittle, Peter Keenan and Duncan Fermor provide a score attuned to the piece in a way only musicians working with skill and openness through a rehearsal process can, and for this deserve high praise. Their work holds the show as one and lifts its best moments to their maximum. Their instrumental decisions and use of light motifs [sic] have their roots in the play’s traditions, but their often unusual performance a distinctively modern leaning.”
(Tom Vickers, Nouse on Medea fragments)