James Ross is a Scottish pianist, composer and educator. He graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama before going on to complete an MA in Traditional Music Performance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick.
James released his debut album on the Greentrax label, a mix of his piano arrangements of traditional and original material. Chasing the Sun, Ross's second recording, is a seven-movement suite, evoking a day's and a year's westward journey along Scotland's north coast. Originally co-commissioned by the Blas festival and Celtic Connections, it features Ross on piano with string quartet (Mr McFall’s Chamber) and soprano saxophone (Fraser Fifield).
Projects have included a commission from Highland music tuition project Fèis Rois, in partnership with Drake Music Scotland, involving school children with learning disabilities performing alongside professional musicians.
James collaborated with Booker-nominated author James Robertson to create The Boy and the Bunnet, a Scottish answer to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. This new words-and-music piece was created to introduce children to the Scots language and Scottish traditional music.
Theatre Workshop Scotland commissioned James to compose the soundtrack for film, The Happy Lands - a feature film developed and created along with members of the mining communities of Fife, Scotland.
James recently joined forces with celebrated writer Alexander McCall Smith to write a song cycle about Scotland and the Sea. Premiered at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 as part of ‘Made in Scotland’. The song cycle will be released as a CD in 2017.
As a tutor James has given workshops in piano, ensemble playing and composition at various music schools, colleges and summer schools in Scotland and abroad. In 2013, Galway Music Education Partnership appointed James as Composer in Residence to work with music schools and youth orchestras in Galway city and county. Since 2003, James has taught traditional piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
James regularly works with Irish singer Michelle Burke and is musical director for her acclaimed show Step into my Parlour.
“He will charm you, take you on day dreams, impress and take your breath away” (FolkWorld)
“Gorgeously compelling” (Sunday Herald)
The photographs on the homepage are from the Johnston Collection.
The Johnston Collection represents the work of three generations of Caithness photographers who captured images of life in and around the area between 1863 and 1975. During that period they produced around a hundred thousand glass plate negatives. Of these, around fifty thousand survive and are held in trust by the Wick Society.
A special thanks to the Wick Society for permission to use the images on the website.
The photos used are:
1. Under Sail
2. High Street
3. Train in snow
4. Bridge Street
5. Harbour Sail
6. Drying sails in wick harbour
8. Salmon Cobble Auckingill
9. Stacking Hay
10. Peat cutting Achinloch
11. Grant Street Wick
12. Long distance walker
13. 1931 flood Alexandra Place
16. Car Wheelbarrow John O’Groats
17. Wedding march Latheron