The American bartitone and violinist, polymath creative artist, athlete, polyglot, and writer, James Dargan, raised in the Deep South and–after a childhood spent at the Duke University String School and NC School of the Arts–educated in New and Old England. As a violinist, he studied early music, improvisation, and all eras of chamber music. While at Boston University, he studied violin with Nicholas Kitchen (the first violinist of the acclaimed Borromeo Quartet, still in residence at NEC), and members of the Juilliard String Quartet. He studied period performance with Judy Tarling of The Parley of Instruments. He completed Bachelor’s degrees in Literature, Religion, and Musicology at Boston University (2006), all the while singing and acting in various choirs and stage productions, fencing, and writing his thesis under the aegis of his advisor, the late poet Geoffrey Hill. While in the UK, he studied English Literature in the graduate programme at Leeds University (Masster of Arts, 2007), continued to play the violin, and began to find his voice as a singer, working as a Lay Clerk in the Choir of the renowned York Minster Cathedral (2007-2008). He studied voice with Dr. Jerrold Pope, Elizabeth Anker, and Luellen Best, and participated in master-classes given by Lynn Torgove, Sondra Kelly, and Penelope Bitzas. He also studied voice with Dr. Lynn Eustis, Neil Semer, and Peter Harvey, and recently attended the prestigious Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in Toronto, on a full scholarship.
After York, James Dargan returned to Boston, where he has sung with groups as diverse as and Lowell House Opera, Boston Opera Collaborative, Helios Early Opera, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Greater Worcester Opera, and OperaHub, and he has presented recitals at King’s Chapel, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Trinity Cathedral in Miami. In his short vocal career, he has soloed in works by J.S. Bach and Gabriel Fauré, Herbert Howells and Frank Martin, and has given recitals of Johannes Brahms, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Dowland, Purcell, and George Frideric Handel; he is a frequent soloist with the Cantata Singers (of which he is a member since 2000), has sung with Emmanuel Music, and is a new member of the professional choir of the Church of The Advent (August 2013-June 2015), Cappella Clausura, Boston Baroque (Director: Martin Pearlman), and made his solo debut with the Boston Cecilia in J.S. Bach's B Minor Mass (BWV 232) in 2014.He is also a founding member of Xerces Blue Ensemble, Tramontana, and Hydra. His baritone comes across with "conversational flair" (Boston Globe) and a "creamy, rich quality", and his "strong-voiced and even", "clear, distinguished, and powerful" singing has been heard across the UK and New England.
James Dargan works as a freelance singer, violinist, and teacher in the Metro Boston area. He added composition and outreach work to his portfolio. As a violinist, he has premiered music by T.J. Anderson, Rodney Lister, and Penka Kouneva. He has just moved to New York, where he sings in the professional choir of Marble Collegiate Church (since 2016), freelances around Manhattan, and continues to pursue social justice through the arts. He currently lives in Bronx, New York.