Until the age of 14, James had no formal academic musical education or dedicated mentoring. Aged 18 he stopped playing the piano entirely for a decade. Since returning to the piano, he has released five albums, all of which have topped the iTunes classical charts. James has presented a Chopin documentary for BBC4 and had his own television series James Rhodes: Piano Man on Sky Arts. Last year James filmed a two-part documentary for Channel 4 called ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ which gave schoolchildren the chance to learn a musical instrument by calling for an ‘instrument amnesty’ – a mission to collect unused musical instruments from around the country which raised over £1 million of instruments for primary schools in the UK. His memoir, Instrumental, was recently published by Canongate. It is a brutally honest, moving and compelling story that was almost banned until the Supreme Court unanimously overthrew an injunction in May 2015.
Photo credit: Dave Brown