James Gilchrist

James Gilchrist


Representation: General Management

Photo: Patrick Allen - operaomnia.co.uk


James Gilchrist is one of the UK’s leading tenors and has performed in major concert halls throughout the world.   Recognised as ‘the finest Evangelist of his generation’ his extensive repertoire embraces works spanning many centuries.   He is an enthusiastic and prolific exponent of lieder and enjoys nothing better than putting together interesting and challenging recital programmes. His impressive discography includes the Schubert and Schumann song cycles, Finzi, Vaughan Williams and Britten.


Full Biography

James Gilchrist began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996. His musical interest was fired at a young age, singing first as a chorister in the choir of New College, Oxford, and later as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge.

James’ extensive concert repertoire has seen him perform in major concert halls throughout the world with conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Bernard Labadie, Harry Christophers, Harry Bicket, Masaaki Suzuki and the late Richard Hickox. A master of English music, he has performed Britten’s Church Parables in St Petersburg, in London and at the Aldeburgh Festival, Nocturne with the NHK Symphony in Tokyo and War Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony and the National Youth Orchestra of Germany. Equally at home in Baroque repertoire, appearances include Handel’s L’Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato with Stuttgart Bachakademie and at Teatro Real, Madrid, Solomon with Les Violons du Roy, Semele with Concerto Köln, Elijah with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España, Madrid and Bach Collegium Japan, Hercules with the English Concert, Ode to St Cecilia with Basel Chamber Orchestra and Messiah with Boston Handel & Haydn Society.  Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and the St John and St Matthew Passion feature prominently in his schedule, and he is celebrated as perhaps the finest Evangelist of his generation; as one review noted, ‘he hasn’t become a one-man Evangelist industry by chance’.

In 2017, James celebrated 20 years of collaboration with pianist Anna Tilbrook with a recital in Oxford.  Their recent performances together include a weekend celebrating Vaughan Williams at St John’s Smith Square, and a new project for the Wigmore Hall – Schumann and the English Romantics – pairing Schumann song cycles with new commissions from leading composers Sally Beamish, Julian Philips and Jonathan Dove. In the 2017/18 season, James and Anna returned to the Wigmore Hall for the third and final instalment of the series, with a programme of Schumann songs and a world premiere of a new work by Jonathan Dove.

James’ impressive discography includes recordings of Albert Herring (title role) and Vaughan Williams’ A Poisoned Kiss, and more recently Songs of Travel for Chandos, St John Passion with the AAM, the Finzi song cycle Oh Fair To See, Elizabethan Lute Songs When Laura Smiles with Matthew Wadsworth, Leighton Earth Sweet Earth, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge, Finzi songs and Britten’s Winter Words for Linn Records, the critically-acclaimed recordings of Schubert’s song cycles for Orchid Classics and a disc of Schumann song cycles for Linn Records.

James sang the role of Rev. Adams in Britten’s Peter Grimes with Bergen Philharmonic and Edward Gardner with performances at the Edinburgh International Festival. Further highlights include Haydn’s Creation for a staged production with Garsington Opera and Ballet Rambert, and last season with Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Elijah in Gothenberg with Goteborgs Symfoniker and Masaaki Suzuki, as well as appearances with Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Denmark, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Spain, a series of concerts in Langeland with the pianist Julius Drake, a collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music on a programme of Bach & Purcell, and a return to King’s College, Cambridge to perform St Matthew Passion as part of Stephen Cleobury’s final Easter week as Director of Music. Steering away from familiar styles, James recently worked with Eddie Parker’s Debussy Mirrored Ensemble with performances in York, Bristol and London. With a fusion of jazz, classical and improvisation the work was a celebration and creative response to Debussy’s work in the centenary of the composer’s death.

In the 2019-20 season includes further performances as Rev. Adams Peter Grimes with Bergen Philharmonic conducted by Edward Gardner, at both Den Norske Opera, Oslo, and Grieghallen in Bergen. Elsewhere in Norway, James opens the season with recitals as part of the Sunnmøre Chamber Music Festival in Volda. Further concert performances include joining Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki for a tour of Europe, as well as for performances of St Matthew Passion in Tokyo.  He also sings St John Passion with the NDR Elbphilharmonie, Bach’s Mass in B minor at St John’s Smith Square, Messiah with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Christmas Oratorio with Stephen Layton and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Alongside pianist Anna Tilbrook, James will sing an all Schubert recital at the Oxford Lieder Festival, perform a  recital at the Jacqueline du Pré building at Oxford University and will do a recital tour of Scotland in the New Year.

Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.

Email: Evie Parker



Christmas with Hazard Chase

December 2nd, 2019

Festive concerts throughout the Christmas season

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Peter Grimes in Norway

November 20th, 2019

James Gilchrist joins Edward Gardner for Britten’s evocative opera.

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Magic, Myths and Mortals

October 9th, 2019

Oxford Lieder Festival: HC artists perform at Sholto Kynoch’s prestigious song festival

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Three Choirs Festival 2019

July 24th, 2019

Hazard Chase artists perform in Gloucester at renowned festival

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James Gilchrist returns to Cambridge

April 2nd, 2019

Tenor joins stellar cast for Easter at Kings

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Leeds Lieder Charity concert (Wigmore Hall)

‘James Gilchrist showed once again that he has few equals amongst tenors with a beautifully expressive performance of Quilter’s ‘Fear no more the heat of the sun.’’
Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOHM (June 2019)


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Haydn, THE CREATION (Dallas Symphony Orchestra)

‘Tenor James Gilchrist as the angel Uriel brought a traditional oratorio soloist’s exacting enunciation and intense characterization of text’
Wayne Lee Gay for Texas Classical Review (May 2019)

‘Best of the soloists was James Gilchrist, […] his delivery eager and vivid.’
Scott Cantrell for Dallas News (May 2019)


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Bach, ST MATTHEW PASSION (Tafelmusik & Masaaki Suzuki)

‘Musically, everyone was in top form, including the soloists. British tenor James Gilchrist was a riveting Evangelist.’
John Terauds, The Toronto Star (March 2019)

‘I was especially entranced watching James Gilchrist, our Evangelist. The role of the Evangelist is enormous, and includes several distinct sorts of singing. At times Gilchrist is telling the story quickly in a very light declamatory recitative, soaring at times to the top of his range. I just pulled out my score, there’s at least one high B, perhaps it even goes higher? Now add in the fact that he’s not just singing but telling the story. Yet that’s the least of it. He’s involved in this story, the way a prophet would be involved in such a report, virtually preaching.  No that’s not the way some people sing it, but Gilchrist isn’t most people.  There are also arias, sometimes sung very sweetly, sometimes in a fiercely dramatic style. Gilchrist was perfectly in tune all night, clearly articulating his text, but most importantly offering genuine ministry in telling Jesus’s story in this musical form. And (as I mentioned) when he wasn’t singing he was absorbed in the music-making all around him.’
Leslie Barcza, barczablog (March 2019)


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‘tenor James Gilchrist sounds radiant in Schubert’s ‘Auf dem Strom’
Julian Haylock, The Strad (April 2019)


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Purcell, KING ARTHUR (Gabrieli Consort & Players)

‘Tenor James Gilchrist made a sturdy yet smooth-edged delight out of How blest are shepherds
Clive O’Connell, The Syndey Morning Herald (February 2019)

‘A beaming James Gilchrist, whose tenor has a delightfully pure tone, even got horizontal on the stage as a snoozing shepherd’
Patricia Maunder, Limelight Magazine (February 2019)

‘One of the highlights of the night was James Gilchrist, coat over his shoulder, stepping down from the stage, displaying his pink shirt and inviting the audience into his confidence, singing so lyrically ”How blessed are shepherds”, finally laying back on the stage contented. We were captivated.’
Brian Angus, Bachtrack (February 2019)


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Discography & Repertoire


Vaughan Williams ON WENLOCK EDGE

A programme of Vaughan Williams, Bliss, Gurney & Warlock with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, Anna Tibrook (piano) and James Gilchrist (tenor)

LINN (2019)

Vaughan Williams SONGS OF TRAVEL

A selection of Vaughan Williams best songs and rarely heard chamber works with James Gilchrist (tenor), Anna Tilbrook (piano) and Philip Dukes (viola)

CHANDOS (2018)


The songs of Stephen Wilkinson with James Gilchrist (tenor), Matthew Brook (bass-baritone) and Mhairi Lawson.


Artist Manager

Camilla Wehmeyer (Cambridge)
01223 706416

Associate Artist Manager

Evie Parker (Cambridge)
01223 706414