James initially worked at English National Opera and then went on to conduct operas for Glyndebourne, ENO, English Touring Opera and Raymond Gubbay Ltd.
James has conducted and recorded with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic, CBSO, Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestras. Abroad, he works regularly with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra and City of Prague Philharmonic, and has also guested with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Flanders Symphony Orchestra and West Kazakhstan Philharmonic. Specialising in contemporary music, including several world premieres at the South Bank and the Barbican, his repertoire varies widely from renaissance polyphony to arena pop concerts, with artists as varied as Alfie Boe, Jamie Cullum, Michael Bolton, Andrea Bocelli, Katie Melua and the BBC Singers, for whom he is a regular guest conductor. He conducted the televised Classic Brits at the Royal Albert Hall, with the London Chamber Orchestra.