Lara James attended the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where she was awarded her music degree and a Professional Performance Diploma. She studied for a time with the eminent saxophonist, teacher and historian Dr. Paul Cohen at the Manhattan School of Music, then returning to the UK to complete a Masters degree in Musicology from the University of Manchester, where her specialist subject for thesis was The Saxophone in Britain, c.1860-1960. After finishing a post-16 sector PGCE/PCET teaching and training qualification from the University of Greenwich, Lara paused her studies to have a family.
She has recently resumed her academic research work by undertaking study for her PhD.
As a saxophonist based in the U.K. Lara is known for her work as a musician, educator, researcher and writer. She established herself as a musician with a busy and varied portfolio career ranging from recitals, chamber music, orchestral appearances and band performances to lecturing. Lara has held a post teaching saxophone at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Wales, U.K. since 2003, and has taught, coached, assessed and adjudicated across both its junior and senior conservatoires.
Her past performance work has spanned a variety of genres and included work as a concerto soloist, sessions for radio, TV and CD recordings, including numerous appearances with major orchestras in the UK. As a soloist Lara has been broadcast around the world including the UK (BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Ireland’s RTE Lyric FM) in the USA (NPR) and on ABC Classic FM Australia.
Lara also coaches performance classes, chamber music and gives lectures on a consultative basis. She is part of a collaborative academic writing cohort, is in demand as an adjudicator for national youth music competitions, examinations and college auditions; and as a coach/consultant for national youth music organisations. Lara also mentors for the North American Saxophone Alliance’s Committee for Gender Equity.
Façades- Lara’s debut CD on the Signum Classics label- was chosen as Presenter’s Choice for Instrumental and Chamber Music in Classic FM Magazine, 2009. She was grateful for the support of the Arts Council of Wales towards recording a second CD in 2011; a stylistically diverse project under title of The Glittering Plain, featuring exciting new artist collaborations and commissions by British composers, which was also released on the Signum label. Her latest recordings have been in collaboration with music technologist/composer Dr. Leah Kardos, whose 2017 album Rococochet was released with Bigo & Twigetti. Leah and Lara are currently working on an audio project centred around the subject of psychogeography and women’s safety, due to be presented at the RMA Study Group Music and/as Process Conference, Birmingham Conservatoire later in 2023.