Millicent James

It has been my pleasure throughout the great Pandemic Summer and Fall 2020 to have been working with a group of British women composers for an upcoming livestream for the Spitalfields Festival. I’d like to feature a few of them here; they are the latest in the up-and coming set of composers that are able to seamlessly meld “traditional” classical training with music or soundscapes that have special meaning to them. 

The music of Millicent James intertwines colorful elements of gospel, jazz, soul, contemporary classical, ambient and afro music to create an amalgamation of sonorities. Millicent is inspired by the depths of the human imagination and subconscious evidenced by the works of Japanese Animator, Hayao Miyazaki. Her musical output is multi-faceted and as a composer, cellist and vocalist, Millicent not only regularly sings with the RBC Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra and RBC Jazz Orchestra, but she also continues to compose and perform her own works. Millicent has received musical tuition from prominent composers and musicians such as Errollyn Wallen, Andrew Toovey, Joe Cutler, Richard Ayres, John Turnville, Edward Puddick and Percy Pursglove. 

Of her music, critics have said “a thoroughgoing disregard for genre makes for an unbridled ride,” and “the topic might be serious but the music has a light touch.” 

Her commission for Spitalfields that will be premiered is for solo violin, and you have to love a composer that tells the performer to “go for it.” With just that instruction, the piece now incorporates dancing, wigs, french fries, and footage from a well known franchise. 

We hope you will be intrigued enough to join us for the premiere on Dec. 5; but in the meantime here is “Let the Rain Fall.”