[Short bio]

James Banner was born in Dudley, England and is now based in Berlin and the UK, working around Europe as a musician, composer and educator. His main project James Banner’s USINE has been described as “revelling in both avant-garde and swing”, “unobvious and unpredictable” as well as “intense and dramatic… gentle and beautiful… full of drama”, and has received support from both the Berlin State and Initiative Musik. As a composer he received the prestigious Elsa Neumann Stipendium in 2018 from the Berlin University of the Arts/HfM Hanns Eisler, supporting the ambitious project Voices of Berlin, interviewing residents of Berlin and reflecting their stories through music for improvising choir and ensemble. James has been featured in portraits by Der Tagesspiegel and Deutschlandfunk Kultur, and was recently selected to be a part of Making Music’s Adopt A Composer scheme, composing the collaborative piece Concertino For Concert Band with premiere performances in late 2019 and  a BBC Radio 3 broadcast in 2020. James is a Lecturer at Leeds College of Music, composer in residence for Make The Paint Dance, and workshop leader for Jazzlines at Symphony Hall Birmingham, and active as a co-leader and sideman in projects in the jazz and improvised music scenes of Berlin, also regularly being selected to take part in collaborative projects further afield such as Fish and Chips at Leipziger Jazztage 2018 and Jazz Alloy at the Vortex, London. He also co-curates the monthly residency Practically Married at Berlin’s Donau115, voted one of Europe’s best jazz clubs by The Guardian.

,,a unique and surprising voice on his instrument… a gifted young composer…” Greg Cohen

„idiosyncratic, „oblique“, intense and humorous” Nicky Pawlow [Tagesspiegel Berlin]

“not everyone wants to pick a side… James Banner… revels in both the avant-garde and the swing… a musical balancing act”  – Martin Böttcher [Deutschlandfunk Kultur]

Projects as co-leader / sideman:

Practically Married (co-curator of series at Donau115)
The Good Old Good Ones

WOOD / GUTS [Elias Stemeseder/James Banner/Ugo Alunni]
Birgitta Flick Quartet
Rachel Sermanni
Mark Pringle
Tilo Weber Four Fauns


Interview with Make The Paint Dance (Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Enterprise/UnLtd Do It Award Winner)
Interview with Jazzlines THSH
Portrait by Deutschlandfunk Kultur
Portrait in Der Tagesspiegel

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Gratefully supported by:

Initiative Musik Tour Funding 2019 [for USINE]
HfM Hanns Eisler / UdK Berlin Elsa Neumann Scholarship 2018 [for Voices of Berlin]
Making Music, Sound and Music, PRS Foundation, BBC Radio 3 [Adopt a Composer]
Berlin State Department for Culture and Europe – Studio Award 2017

Further reading:

Failure CV