Lara James is a saxophonist known for her work as a collaborative musician and soloist, and widely regarded as Wales’ foremost classical saxophonist. She has established herself as a musician with a busy and varied portfolio career ranging from recital, chamber, orchestral and band performances to lecturing, and performs across a variety of musical genres from contemporary classical to alternative. She has performed as a concerto soloist and recitalist throughout the UK, while freelance work includes sessions for radio, BBC TV and CD recordings and extensive performance experience with numerous major UK orchestras, national and international opera companies and a variety of tours. As a soloist Lara has been broadcast around the world including the UK (BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Ireland’s RTE Lyric FM) in the USA (NPR), on ABC Classic FM Australia and numerous other countries.
Lara’s debut CD ‘Facades’ on the Signum Classics label was chosen as ‘Presenter’s Choice’ for Instrumental and Chamber Music in Classic FM Magazine, May 2009. She is grateful for the support of the Arts Council of Wales towards recording a second CD in 2011, which promises to be a stylistically diverse project featuring some exciting new artist collaborations and commissions by British composers. This recording will also be released on the Signum Classics label.
A keen interest in the saxophone in chamber music contexts prompted Lara to found ‘Triquetra’, a saxophone, cello and piano trio with cellist Kathryn Price and pianist Rachel Ramos; and in summer 2010, she co-founded the saxophone ensemble ‘Resonance’ with Dr. Angela Space. Lara also works regularly with her long-standing duo partner, pianist Jeremy Young.
Lara teaches saxophone at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, where she also coaches chamber music and lectures in teaching skills. She teaches saxophone at the RWCMD Department of Junior Music and Access Studies and is in demand as a saxophone and chamber music coach, an assessor, adjudicator for national youth music competitions and college auditions and as a coach for national youth music organisations.
Having studied at the Royal Northern College of Music gaining her degree and professional performance diploma, Lara won a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music where she became graduate assistant to the esteemed performer, musicologist and saxophone historian Dr. Paul Cohen. Following a period of study in the USA Lara went on to complete her Masters degree in musicology at the University of Manchester, where her specialist research area was ‘The Saxophone in Britain, c. 1860 – 1960’ and she hopes to further pursue various research interests in years to come.
Lara James endorses Gonzalez Reeds and is a Gonzalez performing artist.