james morley

cellist based in melbourne//
I respectfully acknowledge the land of the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation, on which I live and work. Sovereignty was never ceded.

<<Rathdowne Quartet enquiries/info? go to our website>><<other enquiries? email me: jamesmorley27@gmail.com>>

James Morley is from Adelaide/Tandanya where he studied with Hilary Kleinig, Janis Laurs, and Rachel Johnston. He is currently studying under the tutelage of Howard Penny at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), after completing his Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium on scholarship with Julian Smiles in 2018. James has performed across Europe, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand as an orchestral cellist, chamber musician and soloist.

James was a Freedman Fellowship 2020 finalist, and hopes to use the experience to create future multi-media collaborative works through the commissioning of composition/digital-art works as a means to connect audiences across multiple platforms. In 2019 James won the Audience Choice award in the ANAM Concerto Competition final, for which he had the privilege of performing Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and the same year was awarded ANAM’s St Silas Outstanding First-Year Prize and the Lorne Ann Cole ensemble prize, followed by the 2020 Most Outstanding Recital Prize. James has also previously performed as concerto soloist in 2013 with Adelaide Youth Orchestra, in 2018 with the Sydney Youth Orchestra Wind Orchestra, and was a featured soloist in the 2018/19 seasons of Ensemble Apex. He was a finalist in the 2018 Sydney Conservatorium Concerto Competition, as well as being a semi-finalist in the Gisborne International Music Competition in New Zealand in 2016, and was a semi finalist in the Fine Music Young Virtuoso Award 2015 for which he was broadcast on 3MBS. Other solo engagements include the Adelaide International Cello Festival, recitals for the National Youth Concerto Competition, Play On, and St Silas.
James has also had extensive orchestral experience, and is currently a casual cellist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with West Australian Symphony Orchestra and toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. James has also been a regular member of the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO), including participating in the 2013 and 2016 international tours, and has been appointed as principal cello for many of their programs, as with AYO’s Momentum Ensemble. Prior to moving to Melbourne James was principal cello of Ensemble Apex. James was also the Emerging Artist for cello with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2019, going on tour with the ACO Collective. James has also been accepted for the 2020 Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland.
With a strong interest in chamber music, James has featured in several established quartets. James was the cellist of the Butcherbird Quartet in Sydney where they presented several unique performances, including engagements with the acclaimed Opus Now series, and travelled internationally to participate in schools and festivals in the Netherlands, Finland, and Italy. James is also a core member of Continuo Continuum, an Adelaide-based early music ensemble comprised of only continuo instruments specialising in discovering, adapting and performing early music works by composers from a wide range of cultures. In 2019 James co founded Rathdowne Quartet who’s past and future performance engagements include Melbourne Recital Centre, The Utzon Room SOH, Bendigo Chamber Music Festival, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, Tempo Rubato, Peninsula Summer Music Festival, and fortyfivedownstairs. James has been fortunate to receive chamber music tutelage from renowned international quartets and chamber musicians, as well as playing solo for many performing cellists and pedagogues.
James is very passionate about modern music, and has had the pleasure of closely collaborating with various composers in Australia. James has premiered works for Extended Play Festival, Ensemble Apex, and various other initiatives and recitals, mostly with an electro-acoustic focus. In 2021 James will be presenting a series of concerts featuring premieres of brand new solo  works by Liza Lim, Johannes MacDonald, and Josephine Macken.

James plays the 'Ex-Robert Barrett' cello made in 2004 by Rainer Beilharz, kindly on loan from Professor Mitra Guha, in memory of her late husband.

︎ here’s what I’m up to ︎
       tickets + info for all my upcoming engagements ︎

︎ press;

2021 ~

The ANAM Set - featured, ANAM (Liza Lim collaboration)
ANAM announces an audacious commissioning project - featured, Limelight (Liza Lim collaboration) He felt he was falling out of love with music - a composer saved him - feautured, The Age (Liza Lim collaboration)

2020 ~
2020 Freedman Classical Fellowship finalists announced - featured, Limelight Peninsula Summer Music Festival -- mood-perfect music on the peninsula - featured, Sydney Morning Herald

2019 ~
Nico Muhly and the New (ACO Collective) - featured, Limelight
Medium (Ensemble Apex) - featured, Limelight
Mozart, Haydn, and More (ACO Collective) - Limelight
Emerging Artists 2019 - featured, ACO  ABC National radio; The Conversation Hour 19/11/19 - featured, ABC

2018 ~
The Miraculous Mandarin (Ensemble Apex) - featured, Limelight

︎ media;

for regular uploads, previous concerto performances, recital footage, check out my youtube channel to keep in the loop with my work at the Australian National Academy of Music, check out my ANAM page

for all things Rathdowne Quartet, go check out our website

premiere footage + recordings;
johannes macdonald; going up 2018
lewis mosley; liebestück 2018 (backdrop video source)
josephine macken; canticum novum 2017
kirsten milenko; orbis 2015

︎ cv;
click here for a list of performed contemporary + 20th century repertoire


Australian Chamber Orchestra
Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective (emerging artist)
West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Adelaide Art Orchestra
Australian Youth Orchestra (principle cello)

Ensemble Apex (principle cello, soloist)

Momentum Ensemble (principle cello)

Butcherbird Quartet (founder)

Rathdowne Quartet (founder)

Continuo Continuum (founder)


- Sergei Prokofiev: Sinfonia Concertante Op. 125

with Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, under Johannes Fritzsch

- Giovanni Sollima: Violoncelles Vibrez!

with Ensemble Apex, under Sam Weller
- Friedrich Gulda: Cello Concerto
with Sydney Youth Orchestra, under Sam Weller

- Camille Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto, Op. 33

with Adelaide Youth Orchestra, under David Sharp


Liza Lim: Cello Playing ~ As Meteorology (solo, 2021)

Josephine Macken: new work (solo, completion 2021)

Johannes MacDonald: new work (solo, completion 2021)

Johannes MacDonald: Going Up (solo + live electronics, 2018)

Lewis Moseley: Liebestück (solo + electronics, 2018)

Nicholas Vines: Sync_for_Me(1) (orchestra, 2018)

Jeremy Rose: Liminality (chamber ensemble, 2016)

Josephine Macken: Canticum Novum (chamber ensemble, 2016)

Kirsten Milenko: Orbis (solo + electronics, 2015)

Solomon Frank: Concerto Grosso (triple concerto + accompaniment, 2015)


Hilary Kleinig - Adelaide

Janis Laurs - Adelaide

Rachel Johnston - Adelaide
Julian Smiles - Sydney Conservatorium of Music [Bachelor of Music (Performance)], Sydney

Howard Penny - Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), Melbourne

Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Finland (Butcherbird Quartet) 2018

Utrecht University Chamber Summer School 2018, Netherlands

Estivo Chamber Music Summer School, Italy

Australian Youth Orchestra International Tours 2013 + 2016, Europe/Asia/Australia

Lucerne Festival Orchestra Academy 2020, Switzerland (postponed 2021)

awards + merits


- Freedman Fellowship - finalist

- ANAM Most Outstanding Recital Prize


- ANAM Concerto Competition Final - Audience Prize

- ANAM St Silas Outstanding First-Year Prize

- ANAM Lorne Ann Cole Ensemble Prize

- Australian Chamber Orchestra - Emerging Artist

- Sydney Conservatorium of Music - Award for Excellence in Cello

- Sydney Conservatorium of Music - Concerto Competition Final

- Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival Oleg Kogan Prize


- Sydney Conservatorium of Music - Dean’s List of Academic Excellence


- Gisborne International Music Competition - semifinalist

- Sydney Conservatorium of Music - Patricia Lucas Memorial Scholarship
- Fine Music Award - semifinalist

contact // email // instagram