Aaron James is a doctoral student of Hans Davidsson at the Eastman School of Music, completing a dual-degree program (PhD/DMA) in musicology and organ performance. He is the first-prize winner of the 2011 National Organ Playing Competition of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and has won numerous other prizes and scholarships for his organ playing, including first prizes in the Florence and Stanley Osborne Organ Competition and the Howard Fairclough Organ Competition. Most recently, he has been selected to compete in the 2012 Franz Schmidt International Organ Competition (Kitzbühel, Austria). A regular performer of modernist and contemporary music, Aaron has curated Eastman’s Contemporary Organ Music Festival since 2009; recent and upcoming regional and world premieres include works by Emily Hall, Martin Herchenröder, Michael Nyman, Daniel Ochoa and Kyle Quarles. He is an Associate of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
Before beginning his studies at Eastman, he studied with Paul Merritt at the University of Western Ontario (B.Mus. ’09), where he received the Faculty of Music Gold Medal. His research interests include music and liturgy, the aesthetics and reception history of modernist music, and the organ works of Franz Schmidt. Aaron’s writing has appeared in various print and electronic publications, including the musicology journal Nota Bene, for which he served a term as editor-in-chief. He is presently organist at Holy Cross Anglican Church, Webster, NY.