James Morley grew up in Adelaide studying with Hilary Kleinig, Janis Laurs, and Rachel Johnston. He studied on scholarship at Sydney Conservatorium with Julian Smiles, and is currently training at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) with Howard Penny.
James was a finalist for the 2020 Freedman Fellowship Award. He won the Audience Choice award in the 2019 ANAM Concerto Competition, and in the same year was awarded ANAM’s highest honour for chamber music and the Outstanding First-Year Prize, followed by the prize for Most Outstanding Recital in 2020. James has performed solo with Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Youth Orchestra, Sydney Youth Orchestra Wind Orchestra, and Ensemble Apex. He has been a semi-finalist in the Gisborne International Music Competition and a finalist in the Sydney Conservatorium Concerto Competition.
James has performed with the Australian Youth Orchestra many times, including as Principal Cello for many of their programs, and with AYO’s Momentum Ensemble. Whilst based in Sydney, James was also Principal Cello of Ensemble Apex. In 2019, James was an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Formed in 2019, James is a founding member of the Rathdowne Quartet, and is also a member of the Butcherbird Quartet. With both of these ensembles, James has participated in international schools and festivals, and several unique performances at home. James is also a founding member of Continuo Continuum, an Adelaide-based early music ensemble.
James is passionate about modern music, and has closely collaborated with many composers. James has premiered works for Extended Play Festival, Ensemble Apex, and various other initiatives, mostly with an electro-acoustic focus. James has also been accepted for the 2021 Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra.
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