When tutors speak of Wick-born pianist and composer, James Ross, they use superlatives. Brian McNeill, head of Scottish Music at the RSAMD, Glasgow, says that James is "the future of Scottish Traditional Music in Piano. The instrument has been entirely revitalised in his hands."
His New Voices commission for Celtic Connections 'An Cuan (The Ocean)' in 2005 received critical acclaim and was ranked as one of the most impressive compositions. It was described in Scotia Review as "a sweeping seascape of sound, surging up under rumbling skies and settling down to sparkling tranquillity... wave after wave of wonderful music rising from unseen depths to engulf the shores of the imagination."
Having achieved the highest marks for piano solo performance both at RSAMD and at the University of Limerick, where he completed a Masters under the tutelage of Micheál Ó Súilleabháin, James is developing a career in performance and original composition.
His debut album "James Ross" was released in 2006.
How the Award Helped
James received a Daughter of Dewar Award to buy a piano.
Since the Award
Since obtaining the piano, James says that, as well as being a major benefit to his practice time, he has spent more time composing music, which has opened new doors for him.
He has completed a three-movement orchestral work for Caithness Orchestra and a piano pibroch, both of which have been performed. He was also invited to attend a composer’s course at the St Magnus Festival in Orkney.
James writes, “I feel my career would not be developing the way it is without having a good quality piano. This would not have been possible without being granted a Dewar Arts Award.”