James Hewitt is active in both early and contemporary music, and becoming well known for his engaging personal style and improvisatory prowess.
He performs throughout Europe, both solo and in ensembles including Concerto Valiante, the Yiddish Baroque project Simkhat Hanefesh, and the Scroll Ensemble, which specialises in programmes inspired by improvisatory practices of the baroque, featured in the Leipzig Improvisation Festival, and finalist in York International Early Music Festival 2015. He has participated in several recordings with Contrasto Armonico, associated with an extended project to record all of Handel’s Italian Cantatas, and has broadcast on Dutch Radio 4. He has given improvisation workshops at Yiddish Summer Weimar and at the conservatoires of Bydgoszcz and Katowice in Poland, and teaches historical improvisation at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.
He also works with Brendan Faegre Edge Ensemble, contemporary music ensemble exploring the boundaries between styles and between composition and improvisation, the DaMU Collective (music and dance improvisation) and in interdisciplinary theatre projects.
His compositions include works for Cambridge University Opera Society (Moses and Pharaoh), Ely Cathedral Choir, the Nieuw Ensemble, Modello Ensemble, and the Fokker Organ in Amsterdam Muziekgebauw aan’t IJ. He has received performances at the Cheltenham Festival, Nordic Early Keyboard Festival, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and during the Gaudeamus Interpreter’s Competition in Amsterdam. His works will increasingly become available from Parklaan Publicationson Tutti Music.
He read music at Girton College, Cambridge, and continued his studies at the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague: baroque violin with Pavlo Beznosiuk, and composition with Martijn Padding, Cornelis de Bondt and Guus Janssen. He completed his masters there with research in improvised counterpoint.