James  Black
Photo: Niklas Ottander

James Black

(1990-)

With James Black, you encounter a universe of real madness where ‘everything goes’. Where DIY video, hopeless choreographed performances, and accurately notated score music – among many other things – in a deliberately unsightly mix make up the work. The impossible is a deliberate dogma resulting in a unified expression, which is chaotic and almost gallows humorous, but where one senses a composer who ultimately has complete control over the final result. They are extremely consistent in what they have set out to do, and perhaps that is why you never doubt that it is James Black and not any other composer you are dealing with.
— The Danish Arts Foundation – on awarding James Black a large working grant.

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.


Press photos:
Download high-resolution photo by Niklas Ottander

Reviews and articles:
Interview Seismograf 07.02.2018
Interview Politiken 23.02.2018
Review Debut Concert 02.03.2018
Interview DR 05.06.2018 
Review Ballade.no 11.09.2018

Review Politiken 05.06.2019
Review Seismograf 23.06.2019

Find separate reviews by each work

Available Works

All categories Solo 2-6 Instruments 7+ Instruments Orchestra

  1. Lullabies

    2019 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    45: minutes

    Vietnamese singer, two percussionists, pianist, and video

  2. Antifleur

    2019 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    11:30 minutes

    Amplified tenor saxophone & guitar (doubling Otamatones) and video

  3. RAUS

    2017 • James Black

    7+ Instruments

    16 minutes

    14 players with soloist

  4. SPEAK

    2017 • James Black

    7+ Instruments

    20 minutes

    Solo acc + 0.0.4.0/0.0.3.0/hpd/3perc/0.0.0.4.0

  5. The Gospel Accordion 2

    2014 • James Black

    Solo

    7 minutes

    Accordion solo

  6. Kakashi

    2016 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    10 minutes

    Harp and percussion

  7. Everything is gonna burn, we'll all take turns (I'll take mine too)

    2017 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    15 minutes

    Upright piano, accordion, violin, guitar & double bass

  8. En tåre

    2016 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    7 minutes

    Clarinet and piano

  9. Crow

    2016 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    9 minutes

    Piano four hands

  10. Chorale Preludes

    2016 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    6 minutes

    Flute, tenor saxophone, guitar, and percussion

  11. Bind us together with unbreakable chords

    2017 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    10 minutes

    Organ and recorder

  12. Ballades

    2016 • James Black

    Solo

    6 minutes

    Bass flute solo

  13. Al-Anbiq

    2015 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    7 minutes

    Bass clarinet, accordion, piano

  14. Ground Moves

    2016 • James Black

    Orchestra

    13:30 minutes

    3.3.3.3/0.0.0.0/timp/3 perc/16.14.12.10.8

  15. At night, walking shoes full of blood on the door (or, steam heating a room full of opium)

    2015 • James Black

    2-6 Instruments

    10 minutes

    Wind Quintet




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News

  1. Edition·S at SPOR festival

    general

    Edition·S at SPOR festival

  2. James Black video release

    releases

    James Black video release

  3. Upcoming performances 2022

    general

    Upcoming performances 2022

  1. Selected summer performances

    general

    Selected summer performances

  2. Significant work grants for Edition·S composers

    nominations / awards

    Significant work grants for Edition·S composers

  3. Music video · James Black

    releases

    Music video · James Black

  4. Album release · James Black

    general

    Album release · James Black

  5. Closer Conversations · James Black

    general

    Closer Conversations · James Black

  6. Reviews · SPOR festival

    general

    Reviews · SPOR festival

  7. World Premieres · Rønsholdt, Nielsen, Black & Ernst at SPOR

    general

    World Premieres · Rønsholdt, Nielsen, Black & Ernst at SPOR

  8. Significant grants for Edition·S composers 2020

    general

    Significant grants for Edition·S composers 2020

  9. Danish/Korean Festival Collaboration

    general

    Danish/Korean Festival Collaboration

  10. Gísladóttir and Black at Young Nordic Music

    general

    Gísladóttir and Black at Young Nordic Music

  11. Gísladóttir og Black på programmet til Ung Nordisk Musik 2019

    general

    Gísladóttir og Black på programmet til Ung Nordisk Musik 2019

  12. Praising words to Rønsholdt and Black in Seismograf

    general

    Praising words to Rønsholdt and Black in Seismograf

  13. Talent award for Bára Gísladóttir and James Black

    general

    Talent award for Bára Gísladóttir and James Black

  14. Two world premieres at KLANG reviewed

    general

    Two world premieres at KLANG reviewed

  15. Interview: James Black and the summoning of POSY

    general

    Interview: James Black and the summoning of POSY

  16. KLANG 2019

    general

    KLANG 2019

  17. Save 25% on all solo pieces

    general

    Save 25% on all solo pieces

  18. James Black at UNM

    general

    James Black at UNM

  19. James Black receives Pelleprisen

    general

    James Black receives Pelleprisen

  20. James Black - new Edition·S composer

    general

    James Black - new Edition·S composer

  21. James Black debut

    general

    James Black debut

  22. Edition·S pieces at UNM Festival 2016

    general

    Edition·S pieces at UNM Festival 2016

  23. Edition·S Orchestral Project with Composition Students

    general

    Edition·S Orchestral Project with Composition Students

  24.  PULSAR: Interview with Aya Yoshida and James Black

    general

    PULSAR: Interview with Aya Yoshida and James Black

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Calendar

  1. March 2022
  2. 13

    March

    James Black: Speak

    time16:00

    location PULSAR festival, Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, Denmark

    performed by DKDM Sinfonietta

  1. April 2022
  2. 29

    April

    James Black: Mushroom

    time19:30

    location SPOR festival, Bora Bora, Aarhus, Denmark

    performed by SCENATET

  3. 30

    April

    James Black: Mushroom

    time17:00

    location SPOR festival, Bora Bora, Aarhus, -

    performed by -