James D’Arcy was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. One of eight children his father encouraged all his children to learn an instrument. At age 12 James chose the clarinet quickly graduating to playing duets and trios with his brothers and sisters at family musical evenings. Soon after he taught himself piano, primarily so that he could play Elton John songs, but this also meant he was set to accompany his brothers and sisters at various church and community events.
James was accepted into the Canberra School of Music in 1982 and gained his BMus in performance there in 1986 studying under Donald Westlake, Greg Blackman and Alan Vivian. During this period James fell in love with chamber music and orchestral performance and enjoyed success: principal clarinet with the Australian Youth Orchestra (1985) and Canberra Youth Orchestra (1985-1986). James performed at numerous master classes during his under graduate study including with Hans Deinzer, one of the most successful and influential clarinet teachers in Europe, who invited James to study with him in Hanover. Australia remained home and James commenced studies in conducting with Leonard Dommett going on to conduct numerous undergraduate recitals.
James studied composition and orchestration with Donald Hollier during his undergraduate period and has maintained a strong interest in music composition – he wrote his first musical “Alice” in 1983 which was performed to great acclaim. Since then he has written music for film, TV, theatre and church, composed pop songs, songs for choirs, arranged music for chamber ensembles and, generally speaking, is always ready to write down a few melodies on the manuscript for a good cause. James completed a post graduate degree in composition from the University of Sydney in 1996. In 2006 he wrote a Mass and produced a CD for the parish of St Mary’s North Sydney Sesquicentenary celebrations. The Mass continues to be used during services today.
After university James moved into sound post production working as a sound editor for many film and TV shows where he was able to work in close contact with major film directors including George Miller, John Duigan, Philip Noyce, Chris Noonan and Bruce Beresford. These highly creative people working under pressure and scrutiny taught James a great deal about working with people, focus, communication and resilience. James’ work in film and TV means he brings a depth of experience across a wide variety of musical styles and recording environments.
In addition to his musical interests, James discovered that he had a talent in software engineering and has now had a long and successful career running his own company for the past 25 years creating, designing and implementing new software products.
James was the Musical Director for the Chatswood Musical Society’s presentations of The Music Man (2002), The Pajama Game (2003), Grease (2004) and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2006). He was also Musical Director for the Savoy Arts Company’s presentations of H.M.S. Pinafore and Trial By Jury (2005).
James continues to play the clarinet at a high level: from 2010 to 2015 he was a member of the Aeon Ensemble, a group of professional musicians performing a wide variety of chamber music repertoire including works by Mozart, Brahms, Milhaud and Messiaen. Since 2014 he has been playing in the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra and enjoys not only the the repertoire, but also the friendship and camaraderie that the group offers.