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.
An innovative programmer, James has already curated a number of projects, including series for the Brighton Festival, Wigmore Hall, BBC Radio 3, Verbier Festival, Bath International Festival and Perth Concert Hall.
James has presented his own series at the Wigmore Hall 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. Recent collaborations include Benjamin Appl, Kathryn Rudge, Jamie Barton and Lise Davidsen. This season’s engagements include appearances at Wigmore Hall in London, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Phillips Collection in Washington, Cleveland in the US and performances at the Heidelberger Frühling and Konzerthaus Dortmund.
Recent collaborations 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 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. He is also International Tutor in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music. This season James will lead masterclasses with Mark Padmore at the Aldeburgh Festival for the Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme as well as for the Samling Foundation.
Read an article on James’ work as an accompanist and head of the Song Academy at Verbier Festival which has just been published at:
‘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.’
‘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.’
… 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.
…”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.”
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.”
James is professor of piano accompaniment, chamber music and a vocal coach at the Royal Academy of Music, London and International Tutor of Piano Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
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 gives regular Masterclasses with singers and pianists at the Samling foundation, Verbier Festival Academy and the Jette Parker programme of the Royal Opera House. 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.