Dr James Whitbourn


Composition; Conducting; Performance in the context of recording and broadcast.

Research Fellow, St Stephen’s House

MA (Oxf), DMus

Research Interests

Composition; Conducting; Performance in the context of recording and broadcast.


James Whitbourn studied music at Magdalen College, Oxford, before becoming a practitioner and researcher in the fields of composition, conducting and production.

The foundation of his compositional style was shaped both by his formative study at Oxford and by his work in broadcasting. Whilst working at the BBC, he developed compositional techniques to communicate with broad audiences, especially within the genre of events and religious broadcasting. During this time, he received three Sandford St Martin Awards, including the Premier Award in 2000. His compositions have concentrated on choral writing, often in combination with instrumental or orchestral forces. On the concert stage, his works are frequently performed in North America and mainland Europe, especially his concert-length portrait of Anne Frank, Annelies.

From 1990 to 2001 he served as Editor of BBC Radio 3’s weekly Choral Evensong series before beginning an association with the Royal Opera House for whom he has produced scores of recordings for television, DVD and cinema, alongside many audio discs. These roles, together with involvement in similar audio and audio-visual recording projects based within other European opera houses and at other significant venues, have formed the basis of much of his teaching on performance in the context of recording, in particular his Honours course devised for and taught at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Between 2011 and 2013, he received three Grammy nominations for his work as composer and producer and has gained many other awards for his broadcasts and recordings as composer, conductor and producer.

In 2012, James was appointed to a Research Fellowship at St Stephen’s House where he oversees the college’s summer music education programme including a course for international choral conductors, the Choral Institute at Oxford, which he co-directs.

Contact Details

Dr James Whitbourn
Faculty of Music,
St Aldates,
Oxford OX1 1DB