Freddie James is a young English organist and harpsichordist, based in Basel and London
Freddie James is a versatile organist and harpsichordist, at home in everything from the earliest repertoires, through to the music of the high romantics such as Franck and Reger, and to contemporary music, whilst focussing particularly on the music of the Baroque period.
Freddie has given many solo recitals around Europe, including at the Hereford Three Choirs' Festival, Westminster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral, St Peter's Cathedral, Belfast, St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Coventry Cathedral, St John’s Smith Square, Huddersfield Town Hall, King’s College Cambridge, the Grote Laurenskerk, Rotterdam, St Nicolaas Basilica, Amsterdam, and the Stiftskirche, Stuttgart.
He is also in demand as a continuo player on organ and harpsichord, and has performed with a number of distinguished groups, including the London Mozart Players, St John’s Sinfonia, His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, the Armonico Consort, Ensemble Corund, Staatsorchester Kassel, and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Freddie’s musical career started as a chorister at Southwark Cathedral, and after leaving the choir, he held positions as organ scholar at Croydon Minster and assistant organist at the St Nicolaas Basilica, Amsterdam. He was then organ scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, where, as an undergraduate, he worked on a daily basis with the college’s world famous choir, which he accompanied in its busy programme of services, concerts, tours, recordings and broadcasts. With the choir, he performed in a range of venues around the world, including in Japan (Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Tokyo Opera City), the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, on a number of radio broadcasts, and on a recording for Chandos of works by Thomas Tomkins. His contribution to this recording was praised by Fiona Maddocks in the Guardian: ‘Freddie James... is a name to watch’. He was subsequently organist of the Christuskirche, Stuttgart, and is currently organist of the Church of St Peter and Paul, Oberwil, in Basel.
After organ lessons with Simon McGregor, Daniel Moult and Peter Wright, he studied organ at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Jacques van Oortmerssen, He read Music at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, graduating with a double first, which he followed with an MPhil degree. Whilst at Cambridge, he had organ lessons with Gordon Stewart. Subsequently, at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Künste Stuttgart, he studied organ with Ludger Lohmann and harpsichord with Jörg Halubek, graduating in both instruments with the highest marks possible. He then studied harpsichord and organ at the Schola Cantorum, Basel, with Francesco Corti and Tobias Lindner.
Freddie has been awarded a number of scholarships and prizes, including the WT Best scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, a bursary and a scholarship from the Nicholas Danby Trust, a scholarship from the Eric Thompson Trust, the Marquis of Salisbury scholarship at St John’s College, Cambridge, and a scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In the Fellowship exams of the Royal College of Organists he was awarded all the prizes and, as a consequence, a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. He won second prize at the Paul Hofhaimer competition in Innsbruck in 2019, the ECHO Grand Prix competition in Treviso in April 2018 and in the "Agati-Tronci" competition in Pistoia in September 2016, and third prize at the Schnitger competition in Alkmaar in 2019 and at the competition at the Basilique de Valère, Sion in 2019.