Described by The Daily Telegraph as ‘in a class of his own’ James Baillieu is one of the leading song and chamber music pianists of his generation. He has given solo and chamber recitals throughout the world and collaborates with a wide range of singers and instrumentalists including Benjamin Appl, Jamie Barton, Ian Bostridge, Allan Clayton, Annette Dasch, Lise Davidsen, the Elias and Heath Quartets, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Adam Walker, and Pretty Yende. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Ulster Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and the Wiener Kammersymphonie.
European highlights of the 2022-23 season include recitals with Lise Davidsen at the Bergen International Festival, a European tour of an all-Hahn program with Veronique Gens, performances in the United Kingdom and Spain with violist Timothy Ridout, and a fully-produced staged presentation of Winterreise with Benjamin Appl at the Gran Teatre del Liceu designed by Spanish painter and sculptor Antonio López.
North American appearances of the current season include a recital with violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen in a program of C.P.E. Bach presented by San Francisco Performances, tour dates with baritone Benjamin Appl in Detroit, New York City, Portland, San Francisco, and Vancouver, and a pair of recitals with tenor Allan Clayton at the Park Avenue Armory, New York.Read more
James is a frequent guest at many of the world’s most distinguished music centres including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vancouver Playhouse, Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Musikverein, the Barbican Centre, Wiener Konzerthaus, Bozar Brussels, Pierre Boulez Saal, Cologne Philharmonie, and the Laeiszhalle Hamburg. Festivals include Aix-en-Provence, Verbier, Schleswig-Holstein, Festpillene i Bergen, Edinburgh, Spitalfields, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Bath, City of London and Brighton Festivals.
An innovative programmer, he has curated many song and chamber music festivals including series for the Brighton Festival, Wigmore Hall, BBC Radio 3, Verbier Festival, Bath International Festival, and Perth Concert Hall.
At the invitation of John Gilhooly, James Baillieu has presented his own series at the Wigmore Hall with Adam Walker, Jonathan McGovern, Ailish Tynan, Tara Erraught, Henk Neven, Iestyn Davies, Allan Clayton, and Mark Padmore amongst others. This series was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Chamber Music and Song Award for an outstanding contribution to the performance of chamber music and song in the UK.
James was prize winner of the Wigmore Hall Song Competition, Das Lied International Song Competition, the Kathleen Ferrier and Richard Tauber Competitions, and was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2010 and in 2012 received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust Award. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Outstanding Young Artist Award.
Recording projects include ‘Heimat’ with Benjamin Appl (Sony Classical), the complete works of CPE Bach for violin and piano with Tamsin Waley-Cohen (Signum Records), and albums on the Chandos, Opus Arte, Champs Hill, Rubicon, and Delphian Record labels as part his critically acclaimed discography.
James Baillieu is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, a coach for the Jette Parker Young Artist Program at the Royal Opera House, a course leader for the Samling Foundation, and is head of the Song Program at the Atelier Lyrique of the Verbier Festival Academy. He is International Tutor in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music and a trustee of the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Highly sought after for masterclasses worldwide, recent sessions of learning have brought him to the Aldeburgh Festival, Cleveland Institute of Music, Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Friends of Chamber Music, Portland, Oregon, Vancouver Academy of Music, Canada, and to the University of Waikato, New Zealand.
“Anything but an “accompanist,” Baillieu was at least Appl’s expressive equal. Again and again, a subtle shift of color, a chord exquisitely balanced, a telling hesitation before a pivotal downbeat shed new light on the music. I can’t recall another pianist so daringly delaying that magical shift from minor to major mode in the opening “Good Night,” before the words “I will not disturb you as you dream.” It was the stuff of chills down the back.”
“Clayton and Baillieu performed it with stunning understanding and a theatrical verve.“
“As ever, James Baillieu was the perfect accompanist. The subtle brilliance of the tiptoeing accompaniment to Thomas Dunhill’s ‘The Cloths of Heaven’, the kitten-on-the-keys appoggiaturas against the warm Berceuse in ‘The monk and his Cat’, the brittle waltzes in ‘Nuvoletta’ and ‘Oft in the Stilly Night’, the tolling ostinato in ‘The desire for Hermitage’, and the rich chromaticism of the Balfe numbers, all demonstrated a consummate understanding of the idioms.”
“At the piano Baillieu unfailingly captured the mood of each of the nine songs in writing that ranges from tumultuous to stark, declamatory to numb.”