As the motivation touches upon, performative and theatrical elements are often used as central aspects in James Black's works. In RAUS (2017), which world premiered by the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen at Klang Festival 2017, the composer themselves play a central role, as they sing a folk tune with their untrained voice, play a synth solo on the keyboard, and make hand and arm gestures in rhythmical patterns. In a review, the Norwegian music magazine Ballade describes the piece as: “a mixture of the Kodály method and The Village People’s YMCA-dance”.
James Black was born in 1990 in Torquay, England. In 2013, having studied saxophone, musicology, and composition at Oxford University, they moved to Copenhagen to complete their 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, they graduated from the soloist class in February 2018.
James Black received the large working grant of the Danish Arts Foundation 2020, the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen Talent Award 2019, and Pelle-Prisen 2018.
Download high-resolution photo by Niklas Ottander