James Rhodes had no formal academic musical education or dedicated mentoring until the age of 14 when he began to study with Colin Stone. In 1993, mental health issues stopped him taking up a scholarship to the Guildhall and he stopped playing the piano entirely.
A chance meeting, 10 years later, with Franco Panozzo, agent to Russian concert pianist virtuoso, Grigori Sokolov led to James having a brief tutorage by the renowned piano teacher Edoardo Strabbioli in Verona Italy.
Suffering further setbacks due to health issues it was not until 2008, when Rhodes met his present manager, Denis Blais, that he was encouraged to record his first CD. This enabled him to bare his soul and put many of the ghosts of the past to rest.
With Blais, Rhodes also created a distinctive and unique approach to how the classical piano repertoire should be presented. Uncomfortable with the austere and traditional ‘white tie and tails’ recital they decided it was time for the performer to communicate directly with the audience. Rhodes was going to introduce his own programme notes and share what it takes to perform these works of art using fascinating anecdotes about the composers and his own life experience. Delivered in his unique trademark stand-up style he creates an immersive experience that has won him and classical music a dedicated new following.
2008/2009 saw his profile go from complete unknown to rising star, attracting celebrity followers such as Stephen Fry, Derren Brown and Sir David Tang. Having performed in non-traditional classical venues such as the 100 Club, the Tabernacle and Proud Galleries, James built on this new revolutionary performance approach. The pinnacle performance being at London’s historical Roundhouse where he was the first classical pianist to perform since it’s reopening. His debut CD Razor Blades Little Pills and Big Pianos also went to number one on the iTunes chart.
In October 2009 James appeared in his first documentary on BBC Four’s CHOPIN: THE WOMEN BEHIND THE MUSIC. He also released his second album “Will all Freudians please stand aside”, which also made it to No1 on the iTunes chart.
In March 2010, Rhodes became the first core classical pianist to be signed to the world’s largest rock label Warner Bros Records. His 1st album with Warner Bros, Bullets & Lullabies became his 3rd No1 iTunes album. That summer he was also the first solo classical pianist to play the Latitude Festival sharing stages with international stars such as Florence + the Machine and The National.
Within three years of his debut, James presented and performed in his very own television series JAMES RHODES: PIANO MAN on Sky Arts which first aired in December 2010 – January 2011.
In September 2011 he performed alongside Stephen Fry in A CLASSICAL AFFAIR at the Barbican Centre. Then in October 2011 James performed an 11 date tour of Australia which kicked off at the Melbourne Festival to a sell out audience.
Returning back to his original label Signum Classics, Rhodes released his 4th album “JIMMY: James Rhodes recorded live at The Old Market Brighton” in May 2012.
In September 2012 he has his debut performance in the US at the International Beethoven Festival in Chicago.
2013, James performed in Hong Kong, Vienna, the Barber Institute in Birmingham, Royal Albert Hall, Cheltenham Music Festival, Waterfront stage at Latitude Festival and a series at Soho Theatre in London. He also presented and performed in the acclaimed television documentary “Notes from The Inside” which aired in August 2013 on Channel 4 in the UK.
2014 will be a very busy year for James, releasing his 5th studio album in the spring/ summer, a live DVD in the autumn and filming, once again for Channel 4, a new series that is due to air in September. His memoir ‘Instrumental’ is due to be published this autumn by the maverick publishing house Canongate and he is also launching his own record label, Instrumental Records. There are shows booked in at the Soho Theatre, a tour of the UK including the Hay the Edinburgh Festivals and theatres from Bristol to Leeds to Manchester. A tour of Australia is currently being planned for 2015.
FIVE: PIANO RECITAL (instrumental Records)
Release Date: June 2014
JIMMY: JAMES RHODES LIVE IN BRIGHTON (Signum Classics)
Release date: May 2012
BULLETS & LULLABIES (WARNER BROS – WCJ)
Release date: December 2010
NOW WOULD ALL FREUDIANS PLEASE STAND ASIDE (Signum Classics)
Release date: March 2010
RAZOR BLADES, LITTLE PILLS AND BIG PIANOS (Signum Classics)
Release date: February 2009
Denis Blais Management: firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoe Caldwell, Glynis Henderson Productions: email@example.com
Simon Millward, Albion Media: firstname.lastname@example.org
“From the outset, it is evident that Rhodes is a thoughtful and attentive pianist.”
Richard Whitehouse, International Piano