James Gilchrist began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996.
James’ concert appearances include Damon in Acis and Galatea at the Proms (Academy of Ancient Music/Paul Goodwin), Bach cantatas with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra in their celebrated Bach Pilgrimage (Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Europe – America), Tippett’s The Knot Garden (Sir Andrew Davis/BBC Symphony Orchestra), Monteverdi Vespers and Messiah (The Sixteen/Japan), Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Ralph in HMS Pinafore (Scottish Chamber Orchestra), the title role in Judas Maccabeus (The King’s Consort), Septimius Theodora (Scottish Chamber Orchestra), Israel in Egypt (St Louis Symphony Orchestra, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Collegium Vocale Gent and SCO), B Minor Mass (Semyon Bychkov/Turin and Santa Caecilia in Rome), Mozart Requiem (Seattle Symphony Orchestra), L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and a televised performance of Berlioz L’enfance du Christ at the BBC Proms (Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra), Alexander’s Feast in Salzburg, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Ton Koopman and the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich, the Evangelist in the Bach/Mendelssohn St Matthew Passion with the OAE, a residency with the Nash Ensemble at Princeton University, Israel in Egypt on tour with Collegium Vocale, Messiah with both the San Francisco and the Detroit Symphony Orchestras, War Requiem and Dream of Gerontius for the Three Choirs Festival, Mozart’s C Minor Mass with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich and at the Salzburg Festival, Bach Cantatas with the Bach Collegium Japan, St Matthew Passion with North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, at Symphony Hall, Boston and at the Royal Festival Hall, St John Passion with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Britten’s Serenade at The Sage, Gateshead, The Seasons with the Handel & Haydn Society under Sir Roger Norrington at the BBC Proms, Pulcinella for Radio Svizzera in Lugano and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, On Wenlock Edge with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Lechmere Owen Wingrave (concert) for CLS at Cadogan Hall, Ugone Flavio for the Academy of Ancient Music in Birmingham and London, Creation at the Frauenkirche, Dresden, at Westminster Cathedral for the Bach Choir and on tour with Herreweghe, The Pilgrim’s Progress with Richard Hickox at Sadler’s Wells, Haydn’s Nelson Mass for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Handel’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day for the SWR in Germany, Oedipus Rex with BBC NOW and War Requiem with the Dresden Philharmonie. James is a keen exponent of contemporary music and has performed in the world premieres of Knut Nystedt’s Apocalypsis Joannis (Oslo Philharmonic), John Tavener’s Total Eclipse (Academy of Ancient Music), which was also recorded, and Helen Ottaway’s new commission for the Salisbury Festival, The Echoing Green.
As a recitalist, he has appeared with Malcolm Martineau, with Stephen Varcoe and Della Jones at St John’s Smith Square, and with John Constable performing Britten Canticles, Quilter To Julia and Tippett The Heart’s Assurance for the BBC. In his partnership with the pianist Anna Tilbrook, he has performed Schumann Liederkreis (op 24), Finzi Till Earth Outwears and Poulenc Metamorphoses for BBC Radio 3. James is also partnered regularly by the harpist Alison Nicholls and recently appeared in recital with the Nash Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall, and at the Bury St Edmunds Festival in a programme featuring a new commission by Alec Roth based on Vikram Seth’s ‘All You Who Sleep Tonight’.
Operatic performances include Quint in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte, Scaramuccio in Strauss’ Ariadne Auf Naxos (Richard Hickox), Gomatz in Mozart’s Zaide (Istanbul), Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love (Barbican/Radio 3), Hyllus in Handel’s Hercules (Berlin), Acis & Galatea at the Berlin Staatsoper, Evandre in Gluck’s Alceste at La Monnaie in Brussels and Purcell’s King Arthur for Mark Morris at English National Opera.
Amongst his many recordings are Albert Albert Herring and Vaughan William’s A Poisoned Kiss for Chandos, Bach St Matthew Passion (Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh), Bach St John Passion (New College Choir/Higginbottom), Rachmaninov Vespers (EMI/Kings College, Cambridge), Schütz Sacred Music (The Sixteen/Collins Classics), Rameau Cantatas and St Mark Passion (ASV), Grainger Songs (Chandos), Kuhnau Sacred Music (The King’s Consort/Hyperion), Bach Missa Brevis (Collegium Instrumentale Brugense), and Bach Cantatas variously with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan. More recently James released a disc of Finzi song cycles, “Oh Fair To See”, (Linn Records) and Elizabethan Lute Songs “When Laura Smiles” with Matthew Wadsworth.
Recent engagements include Frank Martin’s Der Sturm at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bach’s B Minor Mass at the Bach Festival in Salzburg, Saul (Laeiszhalle, Hamburg), further performances of War Requiem (Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España), St Matthew Passion with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich, King Arthur with the Concert Spirituel in London, Luxemburg and Paris and Athalia with Concerto Köln in Köln, New York and Paris. Future engagements include performances at the Presteigne, Lichfield, Cheltenham, Leicester, Edinburgh and Three Choirs Festivals, On Wenlock Edge with the Endellion String Quartet at the Leeds Lieder Festival and Messiah with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra.