As a solo violinist and chamber musician, James has performed in concert series, including Opus 16 Concerten in the Netherlands, and Art Base in Brussels, Belgium. He performs regularly with John Neumeier’s Bundesjugendballett in Germany and Switzerland, performing onstage and incorporating improvisation, movement, and interaction with dancers. Notably, James gave six one-hour solo violin performances with eight to ten dancers, moving throughout the main galleries of the Hamburger Kunsthalle for an event which hosted over 20,000 guests. The Bundesjugendballett collaborated with James for the world premiere of his original Sonata No. 1 for Solo Violin in his solo violin concert in Hamburg’s esteemed Laeiszhalle in 2016.
In July 2017, James founded the non-profit production company Criquet Projets in Languedoc, France. Criquet Projets combines expertise in theater, production, and music, curating events inspired by the locations in which they are performed. In 2016, the team behind Criquet Projets inaugurated the annual chamber music festival Festival à Pélican, and invited Silta Ensemble of Hamburg. In 2017, Festival à Pélican features two concerts with the Orphan Bird Quartet, with James performing first violin. The two radically different concerts will feature three world premieres of James’ original compositions.
James is a founding member, first violin, and concertmaster of Silta Ensemble, an international collective of musicians seeking to explore connections between works and cultures through clever programming, and alternative concert formatting. In 2016, the Silta Ensemble's five-concert "Im Dialog" series investigated how Finnish music relates to English, German and American music from the early Classical period to the present day. The concerts featured conductor-less string orchestra, percussion ensemble, tenor and piano, accordion and guitar, viola duos, flute and cello duos, string trios, clarinet quartets, string quartets, and more. The concert "Im Dialog III: HEL-HAM-LA" featured four world premieres, commissioned by Silta Ensemble members, and in 2017, Silta Ensemble was honored to perform in Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle.
In 2015, James was concertmaster in Ensemble 13/14’s performance of Schoenberg’s Op. 9. He recorded for Hyperion Records in Aldeburgh Strings, and in the Britten-Pears Orchestra for the Benjamin Britten centenary production of Peter Grimes. He has performed in New World Symphony, Aspen Festival and Chamber Orchestras, Banff Festival Orchestra, and Redlands Symphony, and he has served as concertmaster of Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and Roundtop Festival Orchestra.
James studied for five years with internationally renowned solo violinist Midori Goto. He received a Bachelor of Music as a Presidential Scholar of the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, and in 2013 he was given the USC Thornton School Strings Department Award. He received a Master's Degree in violin from the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater with Tanja Becker-Bender. James is one of the first four Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellows and studied from 2007-2009 with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic premiered his orchestral composition "Urban Sea", and his composition for woodwinds, "Pentawhistle", in Walt Disney Concert Hall. Also in Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Sonus Quartet and five-time Grammy Award-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride premiered "Spring Revisited", a piece James co-composed with his three Composer Fellow colleagues: Anderson Alden, Saad Haddad and Tim Callobre. When James was 12 years old, The Wild Ginger Philharmonic premiered his first composition "Andante in C Major" in Zipper Hall at the Los Angeles Colburn School. Two years later, his composition for orchestra, "Across Five Aprils", won First Place in the International Composition For Orchestra Competition of the Asia America Symphony. In 2010, his work "Concern" was performed at Carnegie Hall. James has composed and performed original music for theater productions, notably Ensemble Studio Theatre Los Angeles’ award-winning world-premiere production of "House of Gold".