S O L O I S T
‘A stunning recital […] playing with immaculate control and precision, thrilling a packed audience with works by Dowland, Walton, Villa-Lobos, Albéniz and Sor. Wonderful mastery of the classical guitar.’ - Sidmouth Herald
‘A virtuoso performance […] demonstrating the instrument at its most evocative. Full of technical challenges of which Girling was the complete master.’
- Darlington and Stockton Times
'The concert featured music by contemporary Brazilian composers, which no doubt opened the ears and minds of those in the audience who, like myself, are not familiar with all the technical explorations and accomplishments of classical guitarists in recent years.'
- Graham Marshall, Rochdale Music Society director
Solo Classical Performance
After having been self-taught on guitar from an early age, it was in James' early teens that a solo concert by John Williams inspired him to begin teaching himself classical guitar. He was soon awarded the Advanced Young Musician Scholarship by Warwickshire CMS to study classical guitar with Martin Högman, and within a year he achieved the ABRSM Diploma in Music Performance. While volunteering at the Stratford-upon-Avon Music Festival, James met Craig Ogden, who would become his principal tutor for five years at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
Having achieved his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the RNCM, where he has since become an Associate Member, James has a growing reputation as an international soloist. Highlights in recent years include his Wigmore Hall solo debut, performances of Rodrigo's guitar concertos with many orchestras across the UK, becoming the first guitarist to win the RNCM Gold Medal competition, and being selected onto the International Guitar Foundation's Young Artist Platform. Meanwhile he regularly gives solo recitals: distinctively, his programmes often incorporate own arrangements as well as scope to draw upon his background in jazz improvisation.