James Black (b. 1990)

James Black’s music exists in an energetic field of strict structures and expressive sounds. By removing all unnecessary layers in his works he reaches a musical core, which is often made up of a simple idea that is faced with chaotic impulses. He frequently combines traditional and extended playing techniques in order to give each instrument a distinct identity, which unfolds, alone or together with other instruments, in a musical miniature drama with subtle rhythmic hints and clear sonic characteristics.

Increasingly, James Black uses performance as a central aspect of his works. The quintet 'Everything is gonna burn, we’ll take turns (I’ll take mine too)'  sees the musicians leaving the stage one at a time at the end of the piece. In RAUS, world premiered with Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen at Klang Festival 2017, the composer himself plays a central role, as he sings a folk tune with his untrained voice, plays a synth solo on the keyboard and demonstrates hand and arm gestures in rhythmical patterns.

James Black was born in 1990 in Torquay, England. In 2013, having studied saxophone, musicology and composition at Oxford University, he moved to Copenhagen to complete his composition studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Taught by Hans Abrahamsen, Bent Sørensen, Jeppe Just Christensen, Niels Rosing-Schow and Hans Peter Stubbe Tejlbjærg, he graduated from the soloist class in February 2018.