I've had the pleasure of working with James D'Arcy for many years. James would never admit to it, but I would describe him as a rare and wonderful multi-talented genius. He never ceases to amaze me by the sheer breadth of his talent. Whether you are looking for a feature film composer, record producer, code smith, musician (playing clarinet, piano) or sound balance engineer - if James feels comfortable performing your task you can be sure of its completion with precision and style.
James D'Arcy is a talented and versatile musician. He boasts a number of skills, including being an excellent arranger of music, a fine conductor and he is an accomplished clarinettist whose performances are always musically insightful.
I have known James for the best part of twenty years. Having worked together we quickly became close friends. James has a keen musical ear and as a Musical Director he has the unique understanding of what it takes to combine multiple facets to their greatest combined effect. I have had the pleasure of performing many of James’ original compositions and experiencing firsthand their effect on an audience. James is a rare commodity among music producers in that he understands the ‘business’ of music production and entertainment and how best to achieve the necessary outcomes within a budget yet still artistically rewarding for performer and audience alike.
I've worked with James on a number of projects, attaching lyrics to his music. We plan the intent of each piece and James miraculously builds those ideas into music. The detail of his work brings together the predictability of the narrative with the delight of surprise. That makes adding lyrics and a storyline clear because it's already there. In the listening, every melody invokes a memory, strange and familiar at once. With that as a foundation, the lyrics slip into place. James can take an idea and enfold it in rhythm and cadence. His work is precise. Hearing a new work, ready for my lyrics to be settled into it, is joyful and exciting, like a gift to be opened. Negotiating storylines, shifting ideas, and sharing the creative process is energizing and freeing. The moment of releasing our efforts to a performer and then an audience is never tense as James' musicality and our work together inspires confidence. Working with James has been a highlight of my creative life.
Having worked with James on numerous musical theatre projects I can attest to his exceptional talents as an MD: from his keen ear and natural musicality to his extensive knowledge of style and form. James is detailed and determined, focused on eliciting the best from actors and musicians alike, infusing all work with his innate creativity and passion for music.
I have known James for more than ten years now. He was an esteemed member of our chamber group The Aeon Ensemble. The ensemble benefited greatly from his multi talents. He is a gifted clarinet player with a lyrical tone, a wonderful composer as well as skilled with technology. The most memorable experience was that he rearranged Korngold's massive orchestra score of Die tote Stadt tailoring down to our ensemble of six people. Having actually played in the full orchestra in the Opera Australia's production, I was amazed and marvelled at how wonderfully James retained the hauntingly beautiful colour and the rich harmony of the original score. It was indeed the stroke of a genius.
I have enjoyed James' playing very much. He is a gifted and thoughtful musician who sincerely cares about the final product and the process involved in getting there. I have very much enjoyed the interaction we have had particularly during rehearsals – he is one of the few members who asks questions, and that is something that I miss from other players. It tells me that he is always thinking about the music and wanting to create the best possible outcome for all involved. James has a real talent for ‘helping’ other wind players improve themselves without being rude or condescending in any way.
I was fortunate enough to have worked with James as Musical Director for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed where I found James to be a very competent conductor as well as having some very unique insights into musical interpretation. The song “Close Every Door to Me” for example is usually pumped out as something of a rock ballad in the final verse, but James suggested that I consider it from the point of view of it being more like a prayer. I found this to be a very useful direction which enabled me to deliver a more nuanced and sincere performance.