James Morley is from Adelaide where he studied with Hilary Kleinig, Janis Laurs and Rachel Johnston. He is currently training 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, Australia and New Zealand as an orchestral cellist, chamber musician and soloist.
In 2019 James was a finalist in the ANAM Concerto Competition and had the privilege of performing Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in October. The same year James was awarded the St Silas Prize and the Lorne and Ann Cole Prize for Chamber Music. James was also a 2019 Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
James has previously performed as concerto soloist in 2013 with Adelaide Youth Orchestra, and in 2018 with the Sydney Youth Orchestra Wind Orchestra, and was a featured soloist in the 2018/19 seasons of Ensemble Apex. Other notable competitions and prizes include: finalist in the 2018 Sydney Conservatorium Concerto Competition, semi-finalist in the Gisborne International Music Competition in New Zealand in 2016, and semi-finalist in the 2015 Fine Music Young Virtuoso Award (broadcast on 3MBS). James has performed solo at the Adelaide International Cello Festival and has played recitals as part of the National Youth Concerto Competition.
James has also had extensive orchestral experience, and is currently a casual musician with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He has been a regular member of the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO), including participating in the 2013 and 2016 International Tours, and was appointed as Principal Cello for many of their programs as well as AYO’s Momentum Ensemble. Prior to moving to Melbourne, James was Principal Cello of Ensemble Apex.
With a strong interest in chamber music, James has featured in several established quartets. He was cellist of the Butcherbird Quartet in Sydney where they presented several unique performances, and travelled internationally to participate in schools and festivals in the Netherlands, Finland, and Italy. This includes a set for the Opus Now concert series, which led to further engagement with the series. James is also a core member of Continuo Continuum, a unique and ongoing early music ensemble comprised of only continuo instruments based in Adelaide that specialises in discovering, adapting and performing early music works by composers from a wide range of cultures. In 2019 James co-founded the Rathdowne Quartet who began 2020 performing at the Peninsula Summer Music Festival. James has been fortunate to receive chamber music tutelage from renowned international quartets and chamber musicians, and has played solo in masterclasses and received lessons with many performing cellists and pedagogues.
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.
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.
Musician Beneficiary Support generously provided by ANAMsyndicate – Eric Dias & Roger Bau, Michael Schwarz & David Clouston, Liz O'Shaughnessy & Roger Badalassi, Jerry Koliha & Marlene Krelle, The Orloff Family Charitable Trust, Youth Music Foundation of Australia, Anonymous (1)
Photo and video by Pia Johnson