James Morley is from Adelaide/Tandanya where he studied with Hilary Kleinig, Janis Laurs, and Rachel Johnston. He recently completed studies under the tutelage of Howard Penny at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), after completing his Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium on scholarship with Julian Smiles in 2018. James has performed across Europe, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand as an orchestral cellist, chamber musician and soloist.
James was a Freedman Fellowship 2020 finalist, and hopes to use the experience to create future multi-media collaborative works through the commissioning of composition/digital-art works as a means to connect audiences across multiple platforms.
In 2019 James won the Audience Choice award in the ANAM Concerto Competition final, for which he had the privilege of performing Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and the same year was awarded ANAM’s St Silas Outstanding First-Year Prize and the Lorne Ann Cole ensemble prize, followed by the 2020 Most Outstanding Recital Prize, and the 2021 best performance of a work by an Australian composer for his premiere performance of Liza Lim’s Cello Playing ~ as Meteorology. James has also previously performed as concerto soloist in 2013 with Adelaide Youth Orchestra, in 2018 with the Sydney Youth Orchestra Wind Orchestra, and was a featured soloist in the 2018/19 seasons of Ensemble Apex. He was a finalist in the 2018 Sydney Conservatorium Concerto Competition, as well as being a semi-finalist in the Gisborne International Music Competition in New Zealand in 2016, and was a semi finalist in the Fine Music Young Virtuoso Award 2015 for which he was broadcast on 3MBS. Other solo engagements include the Adelaide International Cello Festival, recitals for the National Youth Concerto Competition, Play On, and St Silas.
In 2022 James will give his UKARIA solo recital debut at Adelaide Festival, alongside recitals at Tempo Rubato.
James has also had extensive orchestral experience, and is currently a casual cellist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with West Australian Symphony Orchestra and toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. James has also been a regular member of the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO), including participating in the 2013 and 2016 international tours, and has been appointed as principal cello for many of their programs, as with AYO’s Momentum Ensemble. Prior to moving to Melbourne James was principal cello of Ensemble Apex. James was also the Emerging Artist for cello with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2019, going on tour with the ACO Collective. James has also been accepted for the 2020 Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland.
With a strong interest in chamber music, James has featured in several established quartets. James was the cellist of the Butcherbird Quartet in Sydney where they presented several unique performances, including engagements with the acclaimed Opus Now series, and travelled internationally to participate in schools and festivals in the Netherlands, Finland, and Italy. James is also a core member of Continuo Continuum, an Adelaide-based early music ensemble comprised of only continuo instruments specialising in discovering, adapting and performing early music works by composers from a wide range of cultures. In 2019 James co founded Rathdowne Quartetwho’s past and future performance engagements include Melbourne Recital Centre, The Utzon Room SOH, Bendigo Chamber Music Festival, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, Tempo Rubato, Peninsula Summer Music Festival, and fortyfivedownstairs. James has been fortunate to receive chamber music tutelage from renowned international quartets and chamber musicians, as well as playing solo for many performing cellists and pedagogues.
In 2022, James will perform with Wilma & Friends, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and Partridge Quartet.
James is very passionate about modern music, and has had the pleasure of closely collaborating with various composers in Australia. James has premiered works for Extended Play Festival, Ensemble Apex, and various other initiatives and recitals, mostly with an electro-acoustic focus. In 2021 James collaborated with Liza Lim, Johannes MacDonald, and Josephine Macken on new compositions for solo cello, with the intention of recording an EP of these new works.
James plays the ‘Ex-Robert Barrett’ cello made in 2004 by Rainer Beilharz, kindly on loan from Professor Mitra Guha, in memory of her late husband.