Photo by Reuben Radding ~ click for hi res

James Moore is a composer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been active on the East Coast since 2004, earning the titles of "local electric guitar hero" by Time Out New York and "model new music citizen" by the New York Times. Performing on a wide variety of guitars, banjos, mandolins, and home-made instruments, James's music draws on an eclectic array of influences from folk, jazz, contemporary classical music, and experimental theater.

You may have encountered James in a variety of performance situations: at The Stone playing John Zorn's improvisational game pieces with guitarist Marc Ribot; at BAM playing the music of George Crumb on mandolin and singing saw with soprano Dawn Upshaw; at the Pompidou Center as a musician an actor with Richard Maxwell's New York City Players; At Lincoln Center performing songs and improvisations with Lee Ranaldo and Yo La Tengo; At Carnegie Hall backing up Toshi Reagon and Rhiannon Giddens.

James is a founding member and director of the electric guitar quartet Dither and leads The Hands Free, a folk-inspired acoustic quartet with fellow performer/composers Caroline Shaw (violin), Nathan Koci (accordion), and Eleonore Oppenheim (bass). He can also be found performing with the avant-grunge/sloppy-math rock band Forever House with Meaghan Burke (voice/cello), James Ilgenfritz (bass), and Peter Wise (drums), as well as in duo with violinist compatriot Andie Springer. As a chamber and orchestral musician, James has appeared with Alarm Will Sound, Bang on a Can, Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion, The Crossing Choir, The LA Phil New Music Group, Wet Ink, Santa Fe Opera, and Clogs.

James's first solo recording, a new interpretation of John Zorn's notorious guitar etudes The Book of Heads, was released on Tzadik in 2015, accompanied with a performance film by director Stephen Taylor. Additionally, James has recorded several of Zorn's game pieces on Dither plays Zorn, which was dubbed a "top avant album" of the year by Rolling Stone. Other recording highlights include Ted Hearne’s Sound From the Bench, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in music, and Mason Bates’s GRAMMY-winning opera recording The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, for which James is a steel-string guitar soloist.

As a composer, James enjoys bringing together unique ensembles of artists and developing works through collaboration and improvisation. Recent projects include Send Back My Love for himself performing on electric resonator guitar with the multi-facetted mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran, Desolation Pops for pianist Kathleen Supové with The Rhythm Method String Quartet, and The Untroubled Mind: a song cycle for vocalist/fiddler Anna Roberts-Gevalt, cellist Theresa Wong, and Ellen Fullman performing on her 50+ foot justly-tuned “long string instrument.” James’s concert music also includes pieces for the violin duo String Noise, triple-harpist Claire Happel, chamber orchestra Contemporaneous, and classical guitarist Rene Izquierdo.

James works frequently as a collaborator in theater, dance, and multimedia projects, and has performed extensively with New York City Players. As an onstage musician, singer, actor and music arranger, he has taken part in the international tours of NYCP's Neutral Hero and The Evening. Other notable staged projects include composer David Lang and choreographer Susan Marshall's electrified dance piece PLAY/PAUSE; Object Collection's It's All True, a maximalist opera constructed from the live archives of Fugazi; and Bryce Dessner's Triptych, a meditation on the works of Robert Mapplethorpe.

James received his BA in music from The University of California, Santa Cruz, his MM in classical guitar performance from Yale University, and is currently pursuing his PhD in music composition at Princeton University. He has served on the faculty of Princeton's Atelier program, and has been a guest lecturer at universities across the country and abroad. His writings include articles for NewMusicBox and Arcana: Musicians on Music.