James Gardner was born in Liverpool, England in 1962, and during the 1980s played keyboards for his group The Umbrella and thereafter for a variety of well-known artists, both live and in the studio, as well as writing and arranging music in many groups, including Pete Shelley's band and Howard Devoto's band Luxuria. In 1990 he co-founded the band and remix team Apollo 440, reworking tracks by artists such as U2 and Scritti Politti.
Following encouragement from Michael Finnissy, James left Apollo 440 in 1993 in order to concentrate on composition. He moved to New Zealand in 1994, and in 1996 he set up the contemporary music ensemble 175 East, which he directed until April 2010.
He was the inaugural Creative New Zealand-Victoria University composer-in-residence from 2004-2005 and was holder of the Trans-Tasman Composer Exchange residency for 2005/2006, during which he worked with Australia's premier new music ensemble ELISION.
His music has been performed by such notable individuals and ensembles as Harry Sparnaay, Richard Haynes, Joanna MacGregor, Mark Menzies, Dzovig Markarian, Andrew Uren, Gretchen LaRoche, Madeleine Pierard, Andrew Sparling, Ingrid Culliford, Eugene Ughetti, Claire Edwardes, Vanessa Tomlinson, Duo Contour, NZTrio, Trio Terroir, Stroma, 175 East, The Tudor Consort, Lontano and Exposé.
In addition to his compositional work, James is an active broadcaster on music, having written, compiled and presented well-received series on Electronic Music, Frank Zappa, Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, the Moog Synthesizer, and the James Bond soundtracks of John Barry - all for Radio New Zealand Concert.
As a teacher, Gardner has lectured on music at the University of Auckland, Unitec Institute of Technology and the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, where he is currently an Adjunct Senior Fellow.
James is also an irregular performer in the Vitamin-S evenings of improvised music in Auckland.
for violin, cello and piano
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for speaking pianist and electronics
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for clarinet in A and string quartet
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for three clarinets (Eb, A and Bass clarinet)
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