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James Baillieu


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Described by The Daily Telegraph as ‘in a class of his own’ James Baillieu has been the prize-winner of the Wigmore Hall Song Competition, Das Lied International Song Competition, Kathleen Ferrier and Richard Tauber Competitions. He was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2010 and in 2012 received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust Award. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Outstanding Young Artist Award.

James has given solo and chamber recitals throughout Europe and further afield. He collaborates with a wide range of singers and instrumentalists including Lawrence Power, Jack Liebeck, the Elias and Heath Quartets, Ian Bostridge, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Annette Dasch, Pumeza Matshikiza, Jamie Barton, Markus Werba and Catherine Wyn Rogers. Venues include Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Musikverein, the Barbican Centre London, Wiener Konzerthaus, Cologne Philharmonie and the Laeiszhalle Hamburg. Festivals include Festpillene i Bergen, Spitalfields, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Bath, City of London, Aix-en-Provence, Verbier, St Magnus, Derry, Norfolk & Norwich and Brighton Festivals. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Ulster Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Wiener Kammersymphonie.

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An innovative programmer, James has already curated a number of projects, including series for the Brighton Festival, Wigmore Hall, BBC Radio 3, Bath International Festival and Perth Concert Hall.

In the 2015/16 season James presented his own 11-concert series at the Wigmore Hall “Introducing James Baillieu” with Adam Walker, Jonathan McGovern, Ailish Tynan, Tara Erraught, Henk Neven, Iestyn Davies, Allan Clayton and Mark Padmore amongst others. This series was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Chamber Music and Song Award for an outstanding contribution to the performance of chamber music and song in the UK during 2016. He also took part in a European tour with Benjamin Appl as part of the ECHO Rising Stars series.

This season’s engagements include appearances with Allan Clayton, Louise Alder, Adam Walker, Benjamin Appl, Lise Davidsen, Tara Erraught, Amy Harman and Markus Werba at venues including Wigmore Hall, Oxford Lieder, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Bozar Brussels, Louvre Paris, Pierre Boulez Saal, Hong Kong City Hall, Peace Center South Carolina and the Vancouver Playhouse.

James enjoys working with young musicians and is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, a coach for the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, a course leader for the Samling Foundation, and is head of the Song Programme at the Atelier Lyrique of the Verbier Festival Academy. 

Born in South Africa, James studied at the University of Cape Town and the Royal Academy of Music in London with Michael Dussek, Malcolm Martineau and Kathryn Stott. In 2007 he graduated with a Dip.RAM and received the Christian Carpenter Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements. He was appointed a Hodgson Junior Fellow in 2007, a Professor of Piano Accompaniment in 2011, and awarded an ARAM in 2012. He is also International Tutor in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music.



February 2015

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‘James Baillieu, who has decisively and rapidly established himself as a remarkably astute accompanist, was on magnificent form – just to hear his playing in the Roe or in Britten’s ‘O Waly, Waly’ gave you an idea of his calibre.’

Peter Reed, Classical Source, 30 January 2017

‘Baillieu, with his warm sound and empathetic ear, is one of our favourite pianists these days. His playing reminds us of something Steven Blier said about the job of the accompanist, how it’s like taking a singer by the hand and leading them down a hallway of doors. At each door, the pianist opens it for the singer, and asks if they want to go in; if they do, they join them enthusiastically, and if they don’t, the pianist simply invites the singer through the next door. Baillieu has a knack for creating a soloistic phrase out of a singer’s intent; he follows, without losing his autonomy.’

Jenna Douglas, Schmopera, 30 January 2017


… he was upstaged by his prodigiously gifted pianist. James Baillieu is surely the leader of the new generation of accompanists and will no doubt occupy the elite position currently held by such as Graham Johnson, Julius Drake, Malcolm Martineau and Roger Vignoles.

Classical Source Wigmore Hall April 2011


…”James Baillieu —a featured artist in the coming Wigmore Hall season —throwing off the virtuoso piano writing
with insouciant ease and shaping Schubert’s songlike melodies with the instinct of a natural singer’s accompanist.”

Sunday Times
Southwell Music Festival August 2015
Schubert's Trout Quintet


4 December 2015 – Wigmore Hall, with Iestyn Davies and Allan Clayton 

“Last night’s Wigmore Hall recital by conter tenor Iestyn Davies and tenor Allan Clayton, accompanied by James Baillieu, was an all-round triumph: brilliantly programmed, superbly sung and very thought-provoking.”
David Nice, The Arts Desk,  5 December 2015

“James Baillieu was instrumental in the commission [Nico Muhly’sLorne ys my liking] and it was funded partly from his Borletti Buitoni Trust Fellowship funds. His reward was to help bring to life a remarkably striking new work, and one which rewarded Baillieu with a dazzling piano part which was far more than accompaniment.”
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 6 December 2015

“Plaudits should also go to the excellent pianist, James Baillieu, who contributed much to the make-up of the programme and accompanied with an unassertive sensitivity and imagination that illuminated every aspect of both music and text”
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, 7 December 2015

“…these wonderful singers and their excellent accompanist James Baillieu turned [Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac] into white-hot drama.”
Michael Church, The Independent, 7 December 2015

“Baillieu gave us some gorgeous iridescent modulations at the beginning of the first song and imaginative tone painting in the final song.”
Robert Beattie Seen and heard International, 7 December 2015

“There was keen intelligence in the programming, an ear for subtle literary and musical connections and significant personal investment … There was also some of the most sheerly beautiful singing and playing to be heard from this generation of musicians.”
Anna Picard, The Times, 7 December 2015

“James Baillieu is in a class of his own, he is in the Gerald Moore/Graham Johnson bracket, a remarkable pianist.”


The Daily Telegraph
Wigmore Hall International Song Competition September 2009

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Forthcoming events 2018 Past events

Date of the event Location of the event Description of the event Details and link to buy tickets
Thursday 23 August 2018
Schubertíada, Vilabertran, Spain

Recital with Lise Davidsen (soprano)

Info & Tickets
Saturday 25 August 2018
Edinburgh Festival, UK

Recital with the Hebrides Ensemble

Info & Tickets

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Curated Projects

Already with so much collaborative experience, James Baillieu has been the creative mover behind a number of themed projects, including a series of concerts in Perth including the Dvorak and Brahms Piano Quintets with the Heath Quartet (2014), a mini-series at the 2015 Brighton Festival.

This season James will appear in an 11-concert series at the Wigmore Hall “Introducing James Baillieu with Adam Walker, Jonathan McGovern, Ailish Tynan, Julian Pregardien, Alice Coote, Henk Neven, Iestyn Davies, and Allan Clayton amongst others:

Introducing James Baillieu

Wigmore Hall continues to nurture outstanding song accompanists as part of its commitment to the art form’s long-term future.

James Baillieu, winner of the Pianist’s Prize of the 2009 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition, has been described by the Daily Telegraph as being ‘in a class of his own’, a verdict supported time and again by the quality and insight of his performances with a host of duo partners.

Introducing James Baillieu offers a season-long survey of this superb young musician’s artistry.



Perth series

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Teaching, coaching

James is professor of piano accompaniment, chamber music and a vocal coach at the Royal Academy of Music, London. His students have won vocal and piano awards in competitions such as the the Kathleen Ferrier, Gerald Moore and Royal Overseas League Competitions among others. He also works regularly with singers and pianists at the Samling foundation, Verbier Festival Academy and the Jette Parker programme of the Royal Opera House. He was a chamber music coach for the Encuentro de Música y Academia de Santander in Spain and worked with Gerhard Schulz at the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove. His work as an adjudicator has included judging prizes at the British music colleges, Young Classical Artist Trust (YCAT), BBC Young Musician and the Royal Overseas League Competition.