James Blackford is a Sydney based musician, highly regarded as one of the best up and coming euphonium players in Australia. James is an Australian Music Foundation alumnus, awarded the foundations Guy Parsons Award in 2019, making him the first ever euphonium player to be supported by the AMF.
James has twice won the euphonium division of the Australian National Band Championships, and travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee to compete in the semi-finals of the 2016 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference solo competition.
He has enjoyed educating young and enthusiastic brass players as a low brass specialist and has been involved in several solo and ensemble recording projects, including performing on Tomomi Takahashi’s album ‘Illusions’.
In August of 2019, James realised his long-term dream of studying at the Royal Northern College of Music with David Thornton and Steven Mead, when he moved to Manchester to begin a Master of Music, where he recently won the college’s prestigious concerto competition.
His study was made possible thanks to the support of the John Fewkes Scholarship, the Marah Mahlowe Brass Award and assistance by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts.
James also received support from Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund and was a grant recipient of the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA).
James has a passion for brass banding which has led him to play as a member of ‘National Australia Brass’ directed by Professor David King, as solo euphonium with Pacific Brass, Warringah Concert Brass, and The Leyland Band.
He has also performed with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band and Brighouse & Rastrick Band.
In 2021, alongside Australian euphonium player Matthew Collins, James was a successful recipient of a NSW government grant from CreateNSW, enabling the duo to commission four new Australian works, released in June on the album Blackford & Collins; New Australian Music for Brass. James looks forward to returning to Manchester in the near future to continue pushing the boundaries of euphonium performance. He is a strong advocate for its versatile and virtuosic possibilities.