Often described as the “Jamie Oliver" of classical music, JAMES RHODES is "a classical pianist with a rock-star attitude”.
James makes it his mission to seek out new audiences for classical music through his choice of venues and performance style.
Until the age of 14, James had no formal academic musical education or dedicated mentoring. Aged 18 he stopped playing the piano entirely for a decade. Since returning to the piano, he has released five albums, all of which have topped the iTunes classical charts. He has performed in venues and festivals around the world from the Barbican, Roundhouse, Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Soho Theatre and major festivals: Latitude, Wilderness and Sonar to halls in Paris, Australia, Hong Kong, Chicago, Vienna and more.
In addition to writing regularly for the major UK newspapers and regularly presenting for BBC Radio 3, James has presented a Chopin documentary for BBC4 and had his own television series James Rhodes: Piano Man on Sky Arts. He presented and performed in the acclaimed television documentary “Notes for The Inside” which aired in August 2013 on Channel 4 in the UK.
In 2014 James filmed a two-part documentary for Channel 4 called ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ which gave schoolchildren the chance to learn a musical instrument by calling for an 'instrument amnesty' - a mission to collect unused musical instruments from around the country which raised over £1 million of instruments for primary schools in the UK.
James also presented and performed in Channel 4's Piano Night, interviewing celebrities including Benedict Cumberbatch, Alan Rusbridger and Derren Brown at the piano.
His soundcloud and YouTube channels have had over 10,000,000 views and he has over half a million Spotify listeners a month.
His Sunday Times and international bestselling memoir, Instrumental, published by Canongate is a brutally honest, moving and compelling story that was almost banned until the UK Supreme Court unanimously overthrew an injunction in May 2015. His second book, How to Play the Piano, promising to give anyone the tools they need in order to play a Bach prelude was published by Quercus in October this
Rhodes dispenses with the ‘straitjacket’ approach to classical music. On stage he interacts with his audience, sharing his thoughts on the music and composers. By using his trademark stand-up style, James brings a touch of rock n roll to each performance.
"The joy of James Rhodes is the way he reaches out to young, unconverted audiences by throwing them into classical music’s deep end — Beethoven, Bach — with performances of such natural ease and brilliance that no one can resist."
Geoff Brown, The Times