Experienced as a conductor of choral and orchestral repertoire, James holds regular positions including Director of Wokingham Choral Society, Jubilate Chamber Choir, the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, Oxford, and St Mary's Church, Battersea. He also founded and conducts Fratres, a professional vocal consort, and Battersea Sinfonietta.

Recent highlights have included performances of Dvorak Stabat mater, Haydn Creation, and Bernstein Chichester Psalms. An advocate of new music, he was the conductor of the recent world premiere performance of Nick Bicat Akathistos in St Stephen Walbrook, London, with Cantata Dramatica, with whom he has also conducted premiere recordings of music by Solfa Carlile. His recording of hitherto-unrecorded and newly-edited music by the Restoration-era composer Henry Aldrich, made with the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, was released by Convivium Records in November 2019.

A prize-winning recipient of the Choral Directing Diploma of the Royal College of Organists, he teaches conducting at Hertford College, Oxford, and has given workshops for the Oxford University Continuing Education Department and the Choral Institute at Oxford.

An enthusiastic musical communicator, he is frequently commissioned to write programme notes and essays for leading ensembles including The Tallis Scholars, The Eric Whitacre Singers, and others.

James read Music at The Queen's College, University of Oxford, and subsequently sang professionally for the Choirs of Magdalen College and Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, appearing on recordings including the Gramophone Award-nominated Eton Choirbook series. While in Oxford, he was Master of Music at Pusey House, conducted productions for Oxford Opera, and directed the Arcadian Singers of Oxford, the Oxford University String Ensemble, the Eglesfield Musical Society Orchestra, and others.