John James, Principal Horn


John James was born in Shrewsbury and started his musical career at the age of six, learning the piano and singing in choirs. He went on to study the French Horn and Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, before embarking on a career as an orchestral performer, soloist, composer, arranger and conductor, spanning four continents in four decades!

He spent a total of eight years in South Africa as principal and solo horn of the premier SABC National Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra, and also made his conducting debut there with the NSO at the State Theatre, Pretoria, and in recordings for broadcast. For the last 25 years, John has been Principal Horn of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, and performs regularly with many other orchestras and ensembles, including the Armonico Consort, The Orchestra of the Swan, Orchestra Da Camera and Northern Ballet Theatre. He is also sought after as a chamber musician and soloist, being 25% of a recent performance of the Schumann Konzertstuck for four horns. As well having been Deputy Conductor of the Warwickshire Youth Symphony Orchestra he now coaches the wind sections of various local adult ensembles including the Oxford Sinfonia and the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra. He also coaches at the prestigious International Chamber Music Summer School.

A lover of wood and all things hand crafted, John’s latest hobbies involve creating piles of shavings out of unsuspecting pieces of wood and metal, in the hope of creating “future heirlooms”, the largest being a pipe organ (11’6″) tall, the smallest, a trinket box 1″ long to hold ear studs! In a throwback to his licensed pilot days, he has even built his own plane, 8″ long and for smoothing wood!”