Skip to content

Aaron James – Organist

Aaron James is the Director of Music at the Toronto Oratory of St Philip Neri, and a Sessional Lecturer in organ at the University of Toronto. An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music, he holds both a PhD degree in musicology and a DMA degree in organ, along with the Performer’s Certificate in organ. He was the 2011 winner of the National Organ Playing Competition of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and has won numerous other prizes for his organ playing, including first prizes in the Florence and Stanley Osborne Organ Competition and the Howard Fairclough Organ Competition; he was also a finalist in the 2012 Franz Schmidt International Organ Competition (Kitzbühel, Austria). He performs regularly as an organ recitalist in both Canada and the United States, and has appeared as a soloist with the Eastman Graduate Chamber Orchestra, the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, the College’s highest academic distinction, receiving the Willan and Porter prizes for the 2012 Fellowship examinations. He is a past president of the RCCO Toronto Centre and currently serves as national Chair of Examinations for the College.

Aaron completed his doctoral studies as an organist in the studio of Edoardo Bellotti, having previously studied with Hans Davidsson and Michel Bouvard at Eastman, and with Paul Merritt at the University of Western Ontario, where he received the Faculty of Music Gold Medal. His musicological research has focused on Renaissance vocal polyphony, with published articles in the Journal of the Alamire Foundation, Early Music, Sacred Music, Organ Canada, The Lamp, Oxford Bibliographies Online and Grove Music Online. Aaron is the editor of the newly published Parish Book of Motets (Church Music Association of America, 2022), a printed collection and suite of online resources compiled to make sacred polyphony accessible to small parish choirs. At the University of Toronto, he teaches studio organ lessons and classes in organ literature for students in the Faculty of Music as well as the Master of Sacred Music program at Emmanuel College, having previously taught at Eastman and at the University of Rochester.