About James

James is a classical guitarist and composer based in San Francisco. With the President’s Award, he earned his bachelor’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Mark Delpriora. In his time at the conservatory, he performed as a soloist with the Manhattan School of Music Brass and Percussion Orchestra and MSM Symphony Orchestra. On completion of his undergraduate program, he earned his master’s degree in classical guitar performance studying under Nicholas Goluses at the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship at the Eastman Computer Music Center. In addition to his collegiate studies, he performed in masterclasses with Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Joaquin Clerch, Oscar Ghigilia, and Pepe Romero. He enjoys performing works by contemporary composers along with standard repertoire.

James is passionate about teaching and has experience teaching all ages and styles. His approach is both individualized and comprehensive, including the study of ear training, theory, and composition. His students are encouraged and guided to meet their personal goals and enjoy their studies.

Q&A with James

Which musician would you like to play with?

Gideon Kremer

Which musician has influenced you the most?

Luiz Bonfa

What can you teach me better on your instrument than any other teacher?

I can teach you how to make your instrument a part of your daily life.

How did you learn to play your instrument?

I started at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and dedicated myself to the guitar. I continued my studies at Manhattan School of Music and Eastman School of Music.

What equipment do you play on today?

I play on a 1972 Arturo Grau y Farre (in the workshop of Jacques Camurat).

Which personal trait helped you the most while practicing?

Perseverance. It was a trait that became important to me after watching a documentary on harpsichordist Scott Ross. He noted the difference between patience and perseverance. Perseverance is required to do great things with your music.

What does your instrument have that others don't?

The guitar has the gift of color. The guitar has the ability to make any phrase sound unique.

How do you handle children?

I work well with children and enjoy seeing the connections made through the learning process.

What has been your greatest experience as a musician so far?

My greatest experience as a musician so far has been playing for Carlos Barbosa-Lima. He is an incredible musician and it was an incredible opportunity to meet him.

What was the biggest stage you played on?

The biggest stage I played on was Avery Fischer Hall (now David Geffen Hall).

Which record would you take with you to the desert island?

Joni Mitchell's Blue

Besides music, what else is important in your life?

I like to travel, hike, and sail.

Music style(s)


Level(s) Comfortable Teaching

All Levels

What languages can you teach in?


What's your age?



Bands, Projects, Notable Performances, Collaborations

Two Ravens (Violin/Guitar Duo) Zwahlen/Garber (Oboe/Guitar Duo) Solo Recital, Lightner Museum, Saint Augustine, FL (2018) Solo Recital, Harn Museum, University of Florida (2018) Composition Premiere, Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music (2016) Researching the Son musical traditions within Mexico.

Other Music-related work / goals

Worked for the Eastman Computer Music Center providing support for electronic music concerts and as a TA.


Deans List (Manhattan School of Music) The Manhattan School of Music Presidents’ Scholarship for Musical Merit Eastman School of Music Graduate Teaching Assistantship and Scholarship

Personal Interests

Recreational Mathematics Sound Design/Audio Engineering Programming Hiking Sailing

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