John James was born in Shrewsbury and started his musical career at the age of six, learning the piano and singing in choirs. He went on to study the French Horn and Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, before embarking on a career as an orchestral performer, soloist, composer, arranger and conductor, spanning three continents and more than three decades!
He spent a total of eight years in South Africa as principal and solo horn of the premier SABC National Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra, and also made his conducting debut there. For the last 20 years, John has been Principal Horn of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed with many other orchestras and ensembles, including The Orchestra of the Swan, Orchestra Da Camera and Northern Ballet Theatre.
John has also spent some years as a classroom and instrumental teacher, as well having been Deputy Conductor of the Warwickshire Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is now a full-time freelance player and Associate Conductor of the newly formed Spires Youth Orchestra.
As a qualified pilot, John owns and flies his own aircraft. Combining his two great loves, he came up with the idea of the annual “Shuttleworth Collection Flying Proms” concerts at Old Warden Aerodrome, and conducted them for over 12 years.