Described by The Telegraph as ‘in a class of his own’, James Baillieu has been prize-winner at the Wigmore Hall Song Competition and Das Lied International Song Competition, and he has won a Kathleen Ferrier Award and Richard Tauber Prize. He was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust in 2010, and in 2012 received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust Award. In 2016, he was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award.
Baillieu has given solo and chamber recitals at prestigious venues and festivals throughout Europe and further afield. An innovative programmer, he has already curated a number of projects, including series for the Brighton Festival, BBC Radio 3, Verbier Festival, Bath International Music Festival and Perth Concert Hall. Baillieu presented his own series at the Wigmore Hall, which was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Chamber Music and Song Award, for an outstanding contribution to the performance of chamber music and song in the UK during 2016. Recent engagements include appearances at Wigmore Hall, Park Avenue Armory, Phillips Collection and Konzerthaus Dortmund.
Baillieu enjoys working with young musicians and is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, coach for the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, course leader for the Samling Institute for Young Artists and head of the Song Programme at Verbier Festival Academy’s Atelier Lyrique. In 2019, he led masterclasses with Mark Padmore at the Aldeburgh Festival for the Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme.
Born in South Africa, Baillieu studied at the University of Cape Town and the Royal Academy of Music with Michael Dussek, Malcolm Martineau and Kathryn Stott. In 2007, he graduated with a DipRAM and received the Christian Carpenter Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements. He was appointed a Hodgson Fellow in 2007, Professor of Piano Accompaniment in 2011 and made Associate in 2012. He is also International Tutor in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Baillieu writes of his time at the Academy:
'I loved my experience on the Piano accompaniment course at the Academy. I did the 2 year option - the first year was very busy and I relished all the opportunities of meeting new colleagues, playing for all manner of lessons and classes, playing all sorts of repertoire and getting used to a very fast and busy pace of musical life. In the second year, I focused more on building lasting duo partnerships and made use of the wonderful performance opportunities that were available in the various prestigious concert series at the Academy and also at festivals and venues around the UK.
The skills that I learnt and picked up whilst being on the course gave me a very good grounding for a career as a recitalist. There were numerous performing opportunities, wonderful colleagues to partner with - both instrumental and vocal - and the opportunity of playing with colleagues in their own lessons and classes meant that I was able to learn from great teachers from all areas of the Academy, whilst my own specialized teachers were focused on my pianistic and musical development.
The beauty of this course is that it offers the flexibility and opportunities to work in all sorts of fields, as seen in the varied careers of all my peers. I am thrilled to be one of the teachers on this wonderful course now and would wholeheartedly recommend it!'
‘At the piano, Baillieu was a beautifully matched “partner in crime” (Davidsen’s phrase, in one of several disarmingly sweet spoken introductions), with quicksilver fingers in Grieg, a delicious flexibility of tempo in Strauss and delicately balanced sound throughout. And in the closing bars of Strauss’s Morgen (their second encore), he provided the most breathtaking touch of all – suspending time and allowing silence itself to speak.’ - The Guardian, February 2020
‘Her partnership with Baillieu is clearly a fine one, too. He’s an exceptional accompanist, knowing both when to hold back and let the vocal line do the work, and when to assert himself and propel the music forward. Loewe’s sometimes deceptively simple figurations seemed fraught with meaning throughout, and his playing in Mahler’s Ich Atmet’ Einen Linden Duft
was simply exquisite.’ - The Guardian, January 2020
‘Yende’s partner for this recital, fellow South African James Baillieu, was extraordinary, showing all the makings of an exceptional vocal accompanist: his vivid playing never upstaged his partner, and he followed her beautifully, his choices responding to hers in real time…Baillieu might become one of the few pianists to achieve real fame as a vocal accompanist." - New York Classical Review, December 2019
Photo by Clive Barda