James Saunders’ music is regularly performed in the UK and Europe, notably at Darmstadt where his Six Pieces won the Stipendienpreis at the 1998 Internationalen Ferienkursen für Neue Musik. He was one of the featured composers at the Ostrava New Music Days in 2001 and at the 13th International Composers’ Seminar, Boswil, Switzerland in 1997.
Subsequently undertaking a composition residency at the Kunstlerhaus, Boswil in May 1998. James’ music has also been played at numerous international festivals, including Brighton Festival, The Cutting Edge (London), Gothenburg Arts Sounds, Huddersfield Conmtemporary Music Festival, Inventionen (Berlin) and Wittener Tage fur Neue Kammermusik.
He has worked with Apartment House (including occasional guest appearances as a performer), duo Contour, SUONO MOBILE, Ensemble Resonanz, Sinfonia 21, Nicolas Hodges, Psappha, London Sinfonietta, Irvine Arditti/Mieko Kanno, and Cambridge New Music Players. Recent work builds upon his exploration of extremely short timescales to produce mosaic-like constructions drawing on an evolving pool of material.
This extended project, titled #[unassigned], overlays short pieces in different combinations, with a unique version being prepared specifically for each individual performance.
James studied at the University of Huddersfield and latterly with Anthony Gilbert at the Royal Northern College of Music. He is a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Huddersfield. In 2004 projects include new versions of #[unassigned] for Sebastian Berweck(Hannover/Standford), Rhodri Davies (London/Leeds), asamisimasa (Roaring Hooves/The Cutting Edge/Ultima), ascolta (Freiburg/Stuttgart), 175 East (Wellington, New Zealand), and +- (London/Amsterdam). James is also a participant in the London Sinfonietta’s Blue Touch Paper Scheme 2004-5.
“In #200203, tiny, evanescent sounds - like the whisper of a bow on the upper part of a violin - made the audience focus on minuscule changes of timbre and dynamic. Every sound in the auditorium became a part of the piece. Saunders’s music turned listening into a dangerous and invigorating experience....Saunders’s piece was released.