Lara James holds a Masters Degree in Musicology from the University of Manchester, a degree and a Professional Performance diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music and a PGCE/PCET from the University of Greenwich.
A saxophonist known for her work as a collaborative musician and soloist, she has established herself as a musician with a varied portfolio career ranging from recital, chamber, orchestral and band performances to lecturing, and performs across a variety of musical genres from contemporary classical to alternative.
She has performed as a concerto soloist and recitalist throughout the UK, and has been broadcast around the world including the UK (BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Ireland’s RTE Lyric FM) in the United States (NPR), ABC Classic FM Australia and others.
Lara has performed as a freelance musician with a number of the UK's major orchestras, and has participated in various unique cross-genre recording projects. Her debut CD, ‘Facades’ on the Signum Classics label, was chosen as 'Presenter’s Choice’ for Instrumental and Chamber Music in Classic FM Magazine, May 2009, and she is a Signum/Hyperion artist.
Lara recently featured on the Bigo and Twiggetti release 'Rococochet' by Dr. Leah Kardos (Professor, Kingston University) and on compilation CDs 'British Concertante' (Heritage Records) and Signum label compilations. She is also a saxophonist on Graham Massey's 'Toolshed' releases.
The Arts Council of Wales awarded financial support towards recording her second CD in 2011: a stylistically diverse project featuring some exciting new artist collaborations and commissions by British composers, along with The Pavao String Quartet and the Will Todd trio. This recording, 'The Glittering Plain', was released on the Signum Classics label.
Lara joined the University of Bristol staff as a Senior Associate Teacher in 2014, and also teaches saxophone at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, where she teaches one-to-one lessons, sometimes with responsibility for coaching chamber music, teaching skills, and directing performance classes.
She is in demand as an adjudicator for national youth music competitions and college auditions and as a coach for national youth music organisations.
Lara's specialist research area was ‘The Saxophone in Britain, c. 1860 - 1960’ and she hopes to pursue various research interests in years to come. She endorses Gonzalez Reeds and is a Gonzalez performing artist.