Northwestern-Bienen School of Music, Professor of Piano, Dept. Chair
Coordinator, Piano Program. Director of Music Performance Graduate Studies. James Giles regularly performs in important musical centers in America, Europe, and Asia. In 2019 he toured in Denmark and performed recitals in Toronto, Paris, Naples, Budapest, and Manchester, England. US dates included recitals in Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, Des Moines, Bloomington (Indiana), and Chicago. As a chamber musician he appears at the Tucson Chamber Music Festival and the Dempster Street Pro Musica in Chicago.
In an eclectic repertoire encompassing the solo and chamber music literatures, Giles is equally at home in the standard repertoire as in the music of our time. He has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, C. Curtis-Smith, Stephen Hough, Lowell Liebermann, Ned Rorem, Augusta Read Thomas, Earl Wild, and James Wintle. Most of these new works are featured on Giles's Albany Records release entitled American Virtuoso. His recording of solo works by Schumann and Prokofiev is available on England's Master Musicians label. He recorded John Harbison's Horn Trio with the Chicago Chamber Musicians and recently released a recording with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic.
His Paris recital at the Salle Cortot was hailed as "a true revelation, due equally to the pianist's artistry as to his choice of program." After a recital at the Sibelius Academy, the critic for Helsinki's main newspaper wrote that "Giles is a technically polished, elegant pianist." A London critic called his Wigmore Hall recital "one of the most sheerly inspired piano recitals I can remember hearing for some time" and added that "with a riveting intelligence given to everything he played, it was the kind of recital you never really forget."
He has performed with New York's Jupiter Symphony (Alkan and Czerny); the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra in Queen Elizabeth Hall (Mozart and Beethoven); the Kharkiv Philharmonic in Ukraine (Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff); and with the Opera Orchestra of New York in Alice Tully Hall (Chopin). After his Tully Hall solo recital debut, critic Harris Goldsmith wrote, "Giles has a truly distinctive interpretive persona. This was beautiful pianism—direct and unmannered." Other tours have included concerts in the Shanghai International Piano Festival; St. Petersburg's White Nights New Music Festival; Warsaw's Chopin Academy of Music; Chicago's Dame Myra Hess Series; Salt Lake City's Assembly Hall Concert Series; and in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Musikhalle in Hamburg, and the Purcell Room at London's South Bank Centre. He has given live recitals over the public radio stations of New York, Boston, Chicago, and Indianapolis. As a chamber musician he has collaborated with members of the National and Chicago Symphonies and with members of the Escher, Pacifica, Cassatt, Chicago, Ying, Chester, St. Lawrence, Essex, Lincoln, and Miami Quartets, as well as singers Aprile Millo and Anthony Dean Griffey.
A native of North Carolina, Dr. Giles studied with Byron Janis at the Manhattan School of Music, Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music, and Robert Shannon at Oberlin College. He received early career assistance from the Clarisse B. Kampel Foundation and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy with the legendary pianist Lazar Berman.
Dr. Giles was the recipient of a fellowship grant and the Christel Award from the American Pianists Association. He won first prizes at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Competition. As a student he was awarded the prestigious William Petschek Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Arthur Dann Award at the Oberlin College Conservatory. He wrote for Piano and Keyboard magazine and has presented lecture-recitals at the national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association, the College Music Society, and Pi Kappa Lambda. He regularly serves on competition jury panels and has been conference artist for many state music teachers associations.
Dr. Giles is director of the piano program at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. He gives master classes and lectures at schools nationwide, including Juilliard, Manhattan, Eastman, Oberlin, Indiana, Yale, New England, and has taught during the summers at the Gijon Piano Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Bowdoin, Brevard, Art of the Piano, Colburn, Interlochen, ARIA, Pianofest in the Hamptons, and the Schlern Festival in Italy. His classes internationally have occurred throughout China as well as at Seoul National University, the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Copenhagen), the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki), the Chopin Academy (Warsaw), the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester), and the Royal College of Music (London).
James Giles was the director of the 2017 American Liszt Society festival at the Bienen School of Music: liszt.northwestern.edu