James Crabb

Classical Accordion

Artistic Director, Four Winds Festival

Management: Australasia

Website: http://www.jamescrabb.com

 Hamlet, Glyndebourne Festival Opera
“…Accordionist James Crabb might have an operatic career ahead of him. Dean’s decision to use this non-operatic instrument in the play-within-the-play scene is a masterstroke. It is such an unexpected sonority, and Crabb’s virtuosic playing underpins the broad comedy.”
Michael Halliwell, ABR,  20 June 2017

Sally Beamish, The Singing, BIS Recordings with Royal Scottish National Orchestra
“…Accordionist James Crabb is spectacular in the concerto, The Singing.  From long mournful singing lines, bagpipe imitations and breathing bellows and winds, the accordion and orchestra create lush soundscapes.”
Tiina Kiik, Wholenote

Sally Beamish, The Singing,  BIS Recordings with Royal Scottish National Orchestra
“…a brilliant performance from James Crabb’
Bruce Reader, Classical Reviewer, 31 October 2015

 “…The Singing – executed with effortless fluency and contagious flair by its dedicatee James Crabb
Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine December 2015

 “The great strength of this Victorian Opera production, directed by Leigh Warren, is the impressive Tango Nuevo Ensemble, with James Crabb’s remarkable classical accordion that expresses the passionate heart of Piazolla’s tango.”
Kate Herbert, Herald Sun

‘”…an accordionist of dazzling virtuosity..., an embryonic genius emerged in James Crabb and a fine ambassador for his chosen instrument...’
Michael White, The Independent on Sunday, UK

“…Crabb was a magnificent soloist with outstanding tonal variety, rhythmical conviction and a superb sense of colour and projection”’
 Peter McCallum, The Sydney Morning Herald

“… Crabb presented himself as a consummate master of his instrument…’
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, UK

Scottish born James Crabb is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading ambassadors of the classical accordion. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music with classical accordion pioneer Mogens Ellegaard and was awarded the Carl Nielsen Music Prize, Denmark in 1991. He was professor of classical accordion at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen from 1995 - 2010 and also held a long-standing guest professorship at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria.  James is currently Artistic Director of Four Winds Festival, NSW.

He has performed worldwide as soloist with the BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish, Sydney and Melbourne Symphonies, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Hallé Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Nash Ensemble, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Spatanburg Philharmonic (South Carolina) and El Paso Symphony Orchestra (Texas).

A recognised and acclaimed authority on the music of Astor Piazzolla, James has performed with the original members of Piazzolla’s own quintet. He has directed Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires both at the Royal Danish Opera and for Victorian Opera.

James’ Piazzolla recordings include, Song of the Angel with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and The Quintets with Richard Tognetti and the Tango Jam quintet. He is also featured in the documentary Astor Piazzolla in Portrait published by Opus Arte. Further recordings include transcriptions of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, The Siinging (Beamish) with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

In addition to continuing in his role as Artistic Director of Four Winds Festivals, 2019 will see James appear at the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson New Zealand, perform and record the new Accordion concerto The Players, (written for him by Brett Dean) with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, perform with Dance Company Co.3 in Perth in a new work, “In Line”, give a recital at Music in the Round, Abbotsford Convent, Victoria, perform with violinist Anthony Marwood at Ukaria, play and direct Sinfonia Cymru, Wales and reprise his role in Brett Dean’s Hamlet in a new production of the opera at Opera Cologne.

Highlights of recent seasons include Piazzolla’s Aconcagua with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Ulster Orchestra, conducting and performing in Victorian Opera’s production of Maria de Buenos Aires, Stravinsky’s Petrouchka with the Tero Saarinen Dance Company in Europe and Asia, the world premiere of a new work by Magnar Am in Oslo and later in Japan, Gubaidulina’s 7 Words with the BBC Symphony, as well as playing this work at the BBC Proms, a Victorian tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, performances with the Camerata Salzburg, Australia Ensemble, Sydney Omega Ensemble, Southern Cross Soloists, Black Arm Band and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and at the Peasmarsh Festival, England, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Adelaide Festival, with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Brett Dean in a new Accordion/Viola duo presentation and a collaboration in Townsville, repeated in Brisbane, with Opera Queensland and Dance North on a new project entitled “Abandon”, based on the music of Handel.

Maintaining a high international profile, in 2017 James appeared as guest soloist and director of a new Piazzolla festival in Buenos Aires, performed the Birtwistle work The Last Supper with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and created a major role on stage, written especially for him, in Brett Dean’s new opera ‘Hamlet’ at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, a role which he later reprised at the 2018 Adelaide Festival. He also returned to the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Townsville and curated the 2017 ‘UKARIA 24’. Other 2018 engagements included a Musica Viva recital in Hobart and performances with ANAM.

James also continues his two exciting collaborations, one with violinist Anthony Marwood and the other with recorder player Genevieve Lacey. Crabb-Lacey’s first recording together with ABC Classics, Heard This and Thought of You was released in August 2015.

James Crabb is managed by Graham Pushee: graham@artsmanagement.com.au 
 February 2019
This biography is for general information purposes only and not for publication.
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