James Buckle

Bass Trombone

30-year-old bass trombonist James Buckle is one of the UK’s most exciting and gifted young musicians. At the age of 23 he became the only brass player in history to win the Royal Over-Seas League Gold Medal, following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most revered musicians, such as Jaqueline Du Pré, and receiving great acclaim from international soloists including baritone Jonathan Lemalu, oboist Nicholas Daniel and pianist Piers Lane.
Portrait of James Buckle

A year later James was appointed Principal Bass Trombone of the Philharmonia Orchestra; the latest in a globally respected lineage of bass trombone players that include Ray Premu, Bob Hughes, Keith McNicoll, and Christian Jones. In the same year James was invited to join John Wilson’s Sinfonia of London, and Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique and English Baroque Soloists. For the last two years James has been a Trustee on the Board of Directors of the Philharmonia.

In 2019, aged 26, he was appointed as a Professor at the Royal College of Music, London, having previously been assistant professor to Ian Bousfield at the Hochschule der Künste, Bern, Switzerland. In the three years since, James has built up a formidable class of bass trombonists that are winning auditions and working in orchestras both in the UK and abroad. He is in demand as a teacher outside of the Royal College and has given masterclasses at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music, São Paulo University of Music, and Wells Cathedral Specialist Music School.

Passionate about modern music, James has commissioned solo and chamber pieces for the bass trombone and has performed three contemporary concertos with orchestra, including a world premiere. As a freelance musician he has played as guest principal with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Aurora, BBC Concert, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, Bournemouth Symphony, Hallé, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic & Royal Philharmonic Concert, Ulster, English National Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden & Welsh National Opera Orchestras as well as the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, London Sinfonietta, Royal Northern Sinfonia, European Philharmonic of Switzerland, & the Orchestra of Europe. He regularly plays in West End musicals including The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, 42nd Street, Les Misérables, Sweeney Todd, & Sunset Boulevard and has appeared in several Film, TV, Game, Pop & classical recordings. He is a former member of both the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and the European Union Youth Orchestra.

James studied at the Royal Academy of Music where he held a full scholarship and received awards from the David Richards Memorial, Oldhurst Charitable, Countess of Munster and Craxton Memorial Trusts. Whilst studying at the Academy James grew an interest in developing his solo career; he won first prize in the Drummond Sharp Prize for Brass and the British Trombone Society Bass Trombone competition; he was invited to perform in front of the Academy’s Symphonic Brass in the Duke’s Hall and he premiered a Concerto for Bass Trombone and Viola by Ian Pillow. James graduated in 2015 with a First Class (Hons) Bachelor’s Degree. In 2018 James was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

James has long been a “sports-nut” and alongside following the global sporting scene and his passion for road cycling, James recently began solo-skydiving and jumps from the Hinton drop zone in Northamptonshire.

The Philharmonia Orchestra Vice President’s Chair is endowed by The Fernside Trust.

The Bass Trombone Chair is currently available for endowment. Endowment opportunities at the Philharmonia offer supporters unique access and insights to our players. Find out more here.