The English organist and harpsichordist, James Johnstone, studied organ and harpsichord with Jill Severs in London and Ton Koopman in The Hague.
After studies, James Johnstone has forged a career as recitalist, chamber musician, continuo player and teacher. For some 20 years he has been active as a continuo player on the UK early music scene, playing with all of the major ensembles, notably as a principal of the Gabrieli Consort & Players (Director: Paul McCreesh) with whom he gave hundreds of concerts and made 22 recordings. He has also performed with Boston Symphony Orchestra (Bernard Haitink), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Pinchas Zuckemann), European Community Chamber Orchestra (Yehudi Menuhin).
As a recitalist, James Johnstone has performed throughout the UK as well as in Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Equador, France, Holland, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and most recently the USA.
Chamber music has always been of primary importance to James Johnstone. enjoys a varied musical life working mainly within the period instrument world. He has been a core member of Florilegium since 2001 (10 discs and tours of Europe and the Americas), and a member of a number of ensembles, including Trio Sonnerie, Trinity Baroque, I Furiosi (Toronto), Harmonie Universelle (Köln), London Baroque and La Serenissima, and the Monteverdi Choir/English Baroque Soloists (Director: John Eliot Gardiner).
He appears on 22 recordings on Deutsche Grammophon with the Gabrieli Consort & Players, 10 discs with Florilegium, and has has made 6 unanimously acclaimed solo discs of works by Blow, Gibbons, E Pasquini, Cornet, Elizabethan Virginalists, a J.S. Bach organ recital (Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam) and J.S. Bach’s Clavier-Übung Part III (Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim).
Much in demand as a teacher, James Johnstone is Professor of early keyboards at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at Trinity College of Music, and has given master-classes in Europe and the USA.