A native of Nova Scotia, James was appointed Director of Music and Organist in 2017 having previously served as the Cathedral's Associate Director of Music since 2012. As DoM James overseas all aspects of the Cathedral's music ministry, one of the largest sacred music programs in the country, and serves as the Cathedral's principal organist and director of both the Girls' Choir and Voces Cathedrae. Prior to coming to the Cathedral he served for ten years as Director of Music at First Baptist Church, Ottawa while from 1997-2001 he was DoM at First Presbyterian Church, Niles, Michigan, where he led a music program of seven choirs and well over one hundred singers. As a student James served as Assistant Organist at Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal having previously held that post at the University of King’s College, Halifax.
James studied at Dalhousie (B.Mus. with a University Medal) and McGill Universities (M.Mus.) as well as the Eastman School of Music. A Canada Council for the Arts grant enabled independent studies in France with the organists Louis Robilliard (Lyon) and Dominique Serve (Aix-en-Provence). He has also studied conducting with Denise Ham, Joseph Flummerfelt, Simon Carrington, and Hugh Floyd and participated in masterclasses sponsored by Chorus America and the Conductors Institute at Bard College.
His solo concert activities include numerous recitals on distinguished instruments in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore as well as performances on the English and French networks of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and at several national conventions of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. In addition he is a frequent accompanist and continuo player for ensembles throughout Canada’s Capital Region, including the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Choir, Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, the Ottawa Choral Society, the Ottawa Bach Choir, the Cantata Singers of Ottawa and the Anglican Chorale.