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James Gilchrist (Tenor)

Born: 1966 - England

The English tenor, James Gilchrist, was a chorister at New College, Oxford, and choral scholar at King's College, Cambridge. He began his working life as a doctor, and whilst studying and practising medicine began working as a solo singer with many of Britain's leading choirs in Britain and abroad. In 1996 he turned to a full-time career in music and currently studies with Janice Chapman and Noelle Barker.

James Gilchrist has a large concert repertoire and, as well as singing with choral societies throughout Great Britain, has appeared with many of Britain's leading orchestras, including the English Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and Northern Sinfonia. He has received critical acclaim in particular for his performances of J.S. Bach and George Frideric Handel.

James Gilchrist's concert appearances include Damon in Acis and Galatea at the Proms (Academy of Ancient Music/Paul Goodwin), J.S. Bach's cantatas with the Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists in their celebrated Bach Cantata Pilgrimage (Sir John Eliot Gardiner/Europe - America), Tippett’s The Knot Garden (Sir Andrew Davis/BBC Symphony Orchestra), Monteverdi Vespers and Messiah (The Sixteen/Japan), Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Ralph in HMS Pinafore (Scottish Chamber Orchestra), the title role in Judas Maccabeus (The King's Consort), Septimius Theodora (Scottish Chamber Orchestra), Israel in Egypt (St Louis Symphony Orchestra, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Collegium Vocale Gent and Scottish Chamber Orchestra), B Minor Mass (BWV 232) (Semyon Bychkov/Turin and Santa Caecilia in Rome), W.A. Mozart's Requiem (Seattle Symphony Orchestra), L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and a televised performance of Berlioz' L’enfance du Christ at the BBC Proms (Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists), Alexander’s Feast in Salzburg, J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) with Ton Koopman and the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich, the Evangelist in the J.S. Bach/F. Mendelssohn St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a residency with the Nash Ensemble at Princeton University, Israel in Egypt on tour with Collegium Vocale Gent, Messiah with both the San Francisco Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, War Requiem and Dream of Gerontius for the Three Choirs Festival, W.A. Mozart’s C Minor Mass with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich and at the Salzburg Festival, J.S. Bach's Cantatas with the Bach Collegium Japan, St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, at Symphony Hall, Boston and at the Royal Festival Hall, St John Passion with (BWV 245) the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Benjamin Britten’s Serenade at The Sage, Gateshead, The Seasons with the Handel and Haydn Society under Sir Roger Norrington at the BBC Proms, Pulcinella for Radio Svizzera in Lugano and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, On Wenlock Edge with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Lechmere in Owen Wingrave (concert) for CLS at Cadogan Hall, Ugone Flavio for the Academy of Ancient Music in Birmingham and London, Creation at the Frauenkirche, Dresden, at Westminster Cathedral for the Bach Choir and on tour with Philippe Herreweghe, The Pilgrim’s Progress with Richard Hickox at Sadler’s Wells, Haydn’s Nelson Mass for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, G.F. Handel’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day for the SWR in Germany, Oedipus Rex with BBC NOW, War Requiem with the Dresdner Philharmonie, Frank Martin’s Der Sturm at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass (BWV 232) at the Bach Festival in Salzburg, Saul (Laeiszhalle, Hamburg), War Requiem (Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España) and St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich,. James is a keen exponent of contemporary music and has performed in the world premieres of Knut Nystedt’s Apocalypsis Joannis (Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra), John Tavener’s Total Eclipse (Academy of Ancient Music), which was also recorded, and Helen Ottaway’s new commission for the Salisbury Festival, The Echoing Green.

Recent appearances have included Haydn's Creation in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Elijah in St David's Cathedral, Solomon in Buxton, W.A. Mozart's Requiem in the Barbican with the English Chamber Orchestra, Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) in Italy with The King's Consort, Messiah in Oslo, Purcell odes in the Wigmore Hall and Lisbon, and J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243) with The Sixteen in Spain.

Operatic performances include Quint in B. Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte, Scaramuccio in Strauss’ Ariadne Auf Naxos (Richard Hickox), Gomatz in W.A. Mozart's Zaide (Istanbul), Ralph Vaughan WilliamsSir John in Love (Barbican/Radio 3), Hyllus in G.F. Handel’s Hercules (Berlin), Acis & Galatea at the Berlin Staatsoper, Evandre in Gluck’s Alceste at La Monnaie in Brussels and Purcell’s King Arthur for Mark Morris at English National Opera.

As a recitalist, James Gilchrist has appeared with Malcolm Martineau, with Stephen Varcoe and Della Jones at St John’s Smith Square in a recital ofPercy Grainger music, and with John Constable performing B. Britten's Canticles, Quilter's To Julia and Tippett's The Heart’s Assurance for the BBC. He performed Schubert for BBC Northern Ireland and music by Howard Ferguson for Radio 3 as part of the composer's 90th birthday celebrations, .and gave a recital in the Preggio festival in Italy,. In his partnership with the pianist Anna Tilbrook, he has performed Robert Schumann’s Liederkreis (Op. 24), Finzi's Till Earth Outwearsand, Francis Poulenc's Metamorphoses for BBC Radio 3. James is also partnered regularly by the harpist Alison Nicholls and recently appeared in recital with the Nash Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall, and at the Bury St Edmunds Festival in a programme featuring a new commission by Alec Roth based on Vikram Seth’s All You Who Sleep Tonight.

Amongst his many recordings are Albert Albert Herring and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s A Poisoned Kiss for Chandos, J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) (Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh), J.S. Bach's St John Passion (BWV 245) (Choir of New College, Oxford/Edward Higginbottom), Sergei Rachmaninov's Vespers (EMI/King's College, Cambridge), Heinrich Schütz' Sacred Music (The Sixteen/Collins Classics), Rameau Cantatas and St Mark Passion ((BWV 247)) (ASV), Percy Grainger's Songs (Chandos), J. Kuhnau's Sacred Music (The King's Consort/Hyperion), J.S. Bach's Missa Brevis (Collegium Instrumentale Brugense/Patrick Peire), and J.S. Bach's Cantatas variously with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists, Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, and Masaaki Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan. More recently James released a disc of Finzi song cycles, “Oh Fair To See”, (Linn Records) and Elizabethan Lute Songs “When Laura Smiles” with Matthew Wadsworth.

Recently James Gilchrist has sung a recital with Malcolm Martineau, a BBC Lunchtime recital, Quint in B. Britten's Turn of the Screw for New Chamber Opera , J.S. Bach passions with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Berlioz L'Enfance du Christ with Richard Hickox and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, with whom he returns next year as Septimius in concert performances of Theodora. With Richard Hickox and the Philharmonia Orchestra he has performed B. Britten's Gloriana, he has toured with Bach Collegium Japan, performed with Ivor Bolton at the Lufthansa Festival and sung in the premiere of Tavener's Total Eclipse in London with the Academy of Ancient Music. He also has performed with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in a world premiere of Apocalypsis Joannis by Knut Nystedt.

Even more recent engagements include include B. Britten's War Requiem in King's College Chapel and Monteverdi Vespers and Messiah with The Sixteen. He made his Salzburg début under Sir John Eliot Gardiner in Israel in Egypt and his début with Ivor Bolton and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Israel in G.F. Handel's Solomon, King Arthur with the Concert Spirituel in London, Luxemburg and Paris, Athalia with Concerto Köln in Köln, New York and Paris and performances at the Presteigne, Lichfield, Cheltenham, Leicester, Edinburgh and Three Choirs Festivals.

Future performances include On Wenlock Edge with the Endellion String Quartet at the Leeds Lieder Festival, Haydn Seasons and Creation with the Monteverdi Choir on tour in Europe and the USA and Messiah with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra. Recently recorded Die Schöne Müllerin for Orchid Classics, which was released in October 2009.

Source: Collegium Instrumentale Brugense Website; International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (2003); James Gilchrist Website (October 2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2001)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Stephen Cleobury


V-4 (2016): BWV 245 [2nd recording, Evangelist]

Richard Egarr


BWV 244 [Evangelist], BWV 245 [Evangelist]

John Eliot Gardiner


BWV 94, BWV 105, BWV 168
BWV 1, BWV 2, BWV 5, BWV 6, BWV 9, BWV 10, BWV 16, BWV 17, BWV 18, BWV 19, BWV 25, BWV 28, BWV 31, BWV 40, BWV 41, BWV 48, BWV 55, BWV 60, BWV 65, BWV 66, BWV 76, BWV 78, BWV 80, BWV 90, BWV 91, BWV 99, BWV 100, BWV 108, BWV 110, BWV 115, BWV 117, BWV 121, BWV 122, BWV 123, BWV 124, BWV 126, BWV 130, BWV 133, BWV 134, BWV 138, BWV 143, BWV 145, BWV 149, BWV 151, BWV 153, BWV 154, BWV 166, BWV 171, BWV 181, BWV 182, BWV 190
V-12 (2016):
BWV 244 [2nd recording, Evangelist]

Matthew Halls


BWV 11, BWV 249

Peter Harvey


BWV 78, BWV 147, BWV 150

Edward Higginbottom


BWV 245

René Jacobs


BWV 244 [1st, Radio]

Ton Koopman


BWV 9, BWV 11, BWV 14, BWV 27, BWV 29, BWV 30, BWV 36, BWV 80, BWV 97, BWV 100, BWV 102, BWV 117, BWV 120, BWV 120a, BWV 140, BWV 146, BWV 156, BWV 157, BWV 159, BWV 188, BWV 195

Stephen Layton


V-5 (2011): BWV 248/1-6 [1st recording]
V-3 (2013):
BWV 248/1-6 [2nd recording, Evangelist]

Paul McCreesh


BWV 244

Roger Norrington


BWV 244 [Evangelist]

Patrick Peire


BWV 233-236

Raphaël Pichon


C-0 (2011, Video): BWV 244a [1st recording]

Raphaël Pichon


Member of Ensemble Pygmalion:
C-0 (2011, Video):
BWV 244a [1st recording]

Christoph Prégardien


V-1 (2012): BWV 245 [Evangelist]

Masaaki Suzuki


BWV 6, BWV 42, BWV 65, BWV 81, BWV 83, BWV 103, BWV 108, BWV 190

Masaaki Suzuki


Member of Bach Collegium Japan:
Sacred Cantatas Vol. 21:
BWV 65, BWV 81, BWV 83, BWV 190
Sacred Cantatas Vol. 36:
BWV 42, BWV 103, BWV 108, BWV 6

Jan Willem de Vriend


V-4 (2011): BWV 245 [Evangelist]

Geoffrey Webber


BWV 247

Links to other Sites

James Gilchrist - Tenor (Official Website)
Soloists Biographies (Collegium Instrumentale Brugense)

James Gilchrist (Wikipedia)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 05:33