James Birchall began his musical education as a chorister at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. He was then a music scholar at Winchester College and a choral scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he studied with David Lowe.
He has sung many of the major oratorio rôles, notably Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, both with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s St John Passion with the London Mozart Players in St Paul’s Cathedral, Christmas Oratorio in Kristiansund, Norway, and St Matthew Passion in Birmingham. He has also performed Messiah in Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford Cathedrals, the St John Passion in Chichester Cathedral with the Hanover Band and Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music in Gloucester Cathedral for the Three Choirs Festival. He made his operatic début in 2004 as Swallow in Britten’s Peter Grimes with Cambridge University Opera Society as well as performing Britten’s Curlew River with the Birmingham Opera Company at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. He has sung the rôles of Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust for Kennet Opera and Antinoo in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria at the Royal Academy of Music.