Short Biography

James Whittle is a musician based in Leeds.

James’s devised, collaborative work blends music, theatre and movement – often with a satirical edge – with influences from performance art and dance-theatre practices.

His PhD Music is Theatre (2017) was supervised by Professor Roger Marsh at The University of York. While there, he received the 2011 Paynter Prize, 2012/13 Terry Holmes Prize, and 2015 Lyons Celebration Award. James has held residencies with Live Art Bistro, Leeds (2013); Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada (2015); and Castaway Music Theatre, Goole (2015-16).

In 2018, his new solo work Belt Up — originally devised for Post-Paradise Series (Birmingham, 2017) — was a selected nominee for SLAPmoves (York) and programmed subsequently at Yorkshire Dance. This year he is collaborating with MeshDance (Leeds) on WeAre: exploring nonverbal communication through dance, music and film. James also writes the music for acclaimed podcast sitcom Wooden Overcoats (“Inspired comedy” — The Times), now in its third season.

James has conducted world premieres at Tête à Tête Opera Festival (London, 2012) and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2014), plus UK premieres of works by Beat Furrer (York, 2014), Kaija Saariaho and Hans Werner Henze (York, 2015). While directing the Late Music Ensemble since 2014, he has commissioned 7 professional composers and led educational projects for undergraduate students.

As a cellist, James has recently premiered chamber operas The Jewel Merchants by Palmer and Hall (Bethlem Gallery, 2017) and hEARd by Theo Jamieson and Lila Palmer (Mercury Theatre Colchester, 2017). He performs experimental work in some kind of duo with Dr Catherine Laws.

James teaches freelance at arts organisations across Yorkshire, including Mind the Gap, Bradford and CAST Theatre, Doncaster.

Read a longer biography here.