James W. Campbell’s music has been praised “lyrical, beautiful and sentimental,” and “accessible for modern audiences” by violinist and conductor Dr. Marcus Scholtes. His music has been performed by members of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Toronto Concert Orchestra and Kindred Spirits Orchestra. His harp concerto was premiered by Kindred Spirits Orchestra under the baton of Kristian Alexander with harpist Teresa Suen-Campbell in 2014. The work was then revised. In 2017, the late Kerry Stratton took an interest in the work, and started to take steps to integrate it into his summer concert series at Casa Loma. It was performed by Toronto Concert Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Marcus Scholtes in 2019. His CD, When God Whispers, a collection of original sacred works and arrangements was released in 2011 to raise funds for two charities in Hong Kong. His Song of Joy for organ was premiered by organist Eric Fan at the Shenzhen Concert Hall, China, in December 2011. His Silver Pear Tree of Paradise was premiered in 2012 with harpist Teresa Suen-Campbell and pianist Raymond Young at Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Lee Hysan Concert Hall.
Born and raised in a musical family in Hamilton, Ontario, Campbell started learning piano when he was 14 and obtained Royal Conservatory of Music Level 8 in both piano and theory. He also won a choral scholarship from Trinity College while at University of Toronto studying history and philosophy. His music is largely influenced by choral hymns and music from the Christian faith. A largely self-taught composer, he joins a distinguished line of composers who studied law, including Handel, Arne, Teleman, Schumann, Leopold Mozart, Tchaikovsky (i.e. who worked as a civil servant in the Ministry of Justice), and Stravinsky. Campbell brings the law into his work with its respect for the dignity and freedom of man’s mind and the solemn majesty of the law. A true renaissance man, James Campbell is a barrister by profession, has served on the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and is currently a member of the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario.