James Widden studied Music and English at Newcastle and Sussex universities, and undertook a postgraduate Advanced Diploma at Trinity College of Music, studying violin with Nona Liddell and viola with Nic Pendlebury. While at Trinity he led all the orchestras and the Contemporary Music Group, including memorable performances with Evelyn Glennie at the Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich, and of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder at the Royal Festival Hall. His string quartet, the Arcadian Quartet, won the Barbirolli Prize for outstanding performance of a Beethoven quartet, and he performed the solo violin part in Berg’sChamber Concerto, both at Trinity and at Blackheath Concert Halls.
Since graduating, James has pursued a busy freelance career in London and the south-east, including working with the London Sinfonietta, the Endymion Ensemble, and performances at the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic. In addition to his work as leader (and string fixer) of St Paul’s Sinfonia, James is also leader and administrator of the Bergamo Ensemble, a contemporary music group that has been bringing exciting and challenging programmes to London and the South-east for the last eight years. He has performed the Kurt Weill Violin concerto with the Bergamo Ensemble and with Southern Winds, at the Canterbury and Brighton Festivals, and at the Royal Northern College of Music. With St Paul’s Sinfonia he has played the violin solo in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante (with Sam Burstin, viola), and Autumn as part of a performance of Vivaldi’sFour Seasons. This season (in the February concert) he will be performing the Beethoven violin concerto.