James Way was awarded the 2016 Simon Sandbach Award from Garsington Opera, the ‘most promising singer’ award at the Dean and Chadlington Singing Competition and is a former Britten-Pears Young Artist. James studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Susan Waters, where he is supported by the Guildhall Trust, the Drake Calleja Trust, Countess of Munster Trust, the Behrens and the Mario Lanza Foundations, and holds an Independent Opera Voice Fellowship. He previously graduated with a First Class honours degree in music from King’s College London.
In 2016 he made his Proms debut as a soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music in the Last Night of the Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo. James was awarded the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Rising Stars prize for the 2017-2018 season, and performs regularly with the orchestra as soloist in programmes including the role of Jupiter in Handel’s Semele under Christophe Roussett, Haydn The Creation under Adam Fischer and various Bach Cantatas as part of the OAE’s ‘Bach, the Universe and Everything’ series at Kings Place, London. Other recent/future highlights include performances and recordings of Purcell’s King Arthur and The Fairy Queen with the Gabrieli Consort and Players; Purcell’s King Arthur for Staatsoper Berlin with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and René Jacobs; the European premiere of Ross Harris’ FACE with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; the title role in Handel’s Samson at Misteria Paschalia Festival with Dunedin Consort; the title role in Acis & Galatea with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants; Mozart C Minor Mass with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Stephen Barlow; Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 3 with the CBSO under John Wilson; new commission ‘Périple d’Hannon’ by Arthur Levandier with L’Orchestre de Chambre de Paris; and the role of Sellem in The Rake’s Progress, conducted by Barbara Hannigan.
James is also a member of the young artist programme of Les Arts Florissants, ‘Le Jardin des Voix’. Previous concert work includes Bach St John Passion (Evangelist) at Temple Church; a performance as part of Music on the Brink of Destruction at Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3; Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes and Stephen Hough Other Love Songs at Wigmore Hall; Messiah with Chelmsford Cathedral Choir; Britten Canticle I (‘My Beloved Is Mine’) at the Barbican as part of the LSO Guildhall Artist Platform; Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; and Bach St Matthew Passion (aria soloist) with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at Pamplona Baluarte; Lucerne KKL Concert Hall, Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw and Bozar, Brussels. Opera credits include his debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša in the role of the Holy Fool (Boris Godunov) at the Royal Festival Hall; the Ballad Singer (Owen Wingrave) for the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh International Festivals (conducted by Mark Wigglesworth), cover the Governor (Simplicius Simplicissimus) for Independent Opera, Gondolier (Death in Venice) and cover M. Triquet (Eugene Onegin), and the role of Davy in Roxanna Panufnik’s new opera Silver Birch – both for Garsington Opera; Ferrando (Così fan tutte) for May-18 Garsington Opera’s Alvarez young artists programme and Vistola Fiume and Pastore (La liberazione di Ruggiero) for the Brighton Early Music Festival. James was selected by pianist Graham Johnson to be a member of his Song Guild for a performance of Schubert’s Winterreise at Milton Court and was also selected to study with Peter Schreier as part of the Internationale Mendelssohn-Akademie Leipzig sponsored by the UK Mendelssohn foundation.