Born in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music where he won the Clarinet Prize. He continued his studies at the RNCM in Manchester with Sidney Fell. Upon graduating in 1981, Jim freelanced with many of the country’s major orchestras, touring musicals, jazz ensembles and also as a pianist-Md for the Library Theatre Company. During this period he was the featured clarinettist at Granada Studios in numerous TV dramas with composers Bill Connor, Carl David and Paul Reade. In 1986 he performed with the American composer John Adams in the world premiere of his opera Nixon in China at the Edinburgh festival.
In 1990 Jim joined the clarinet of the Hallé Orchestra, and has enjoyed the opportunity to tour the world performing in every major city. The orchestra has just celebrated its 150th birthday, performing concerts in Manchester every year since 1858. Jim regularly performs as a soloist with the Hallé, as a saxophonist in Christopher Gunning’s Poirot Variants, and this eason in the Hollywood film composer John Williams’ concerto Escapades, based on his score for the film Catch Me if You Can.
In jazz, he has performed with Kenny Baker, John Dankworth, Roy Willox, Mark Nightingale, Julian Joseph quarter, Branford Marsalis, and Bob Mintzer at the 2006 World Sax Congress in Slovenia. James is a tutor at Chetham’s School of Music, where he also directs the Big Band.