James Rhodes talks about the different ways he keeps performance nerves at bay and the impact memorising has on them. He discusses his experience with mental illness, how this not only affects his nerves but how he deals with criticism and praise, along with his thoughts on taking anxiety-reducing drugs.The year 2009 saw James go from complete unknown to rising star. His playing has taken him to different, mostly ‘non-classical’ venues across the world. He is the first core classical pianist to be signed to the world’s largest rock label Warner Bros Records. He has presented and performed in a number of documentaries for BBC Four & Channel 4, which have been received with great acclaim. He also writes for The Telegraph and The Guardian newspapers on music related topics.

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James Rhodes is a pianist with no formal academic musical education or dedicated mentoring. Classical music became the solace and key to his survival of a difficult early life, dogged with bouts of mental illness. He has created a distinctive and unique approach to how the classical piano repertoire should be presented. Uncomfortable with the austere and traditional ‘white tie and tails’ recital he decided it was time for the performer to communicate directly with the audience, introducing his own programme notes and using fascinating anecdotes about the composers. His unique trademark stand-up style has won him and classical music a dedicated new following.

The year 2009 saw James go from complete unknown to rising star. His playing has taken him to different, mostly ‘non-classical’ venues across the world. He is the first core classical pianist to be signed to the world’s largest rock label Warner Bros Records. He has presented and performed in a number of documentaries for BBC Four & Channel 4, which have been received with great acclaim. He also writes for The Telegraph and The Guardian newspapers on music related topics.