Australian cellist James Morley has been selected as one of seven finalists for the 2024 Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT). He will perform at Wigmore Hall on 16 May for the competition’s Final Auditions, competing to join the prestigious roster of YCAT artists.

James Morley

James Morley. Photo © Alan Weedon.

This year’s finalists beat out over 160 applicants and competed in live semi final auditions across the UK and Germany. Fellow finalists are pianist Amiri Harewood, saxophonist Deborah Witteveen, the Dianto Reed Quintet, the Fibonacci Quartet, cellist Philipp Schupelius and violinist Cosima Soulez Larivière, who will perform at this year’s UKARIA 24.

Selected artists receive three to five years of developmental management, international performance engagements, support in branding and publicity and a live recording of recitals performed at Wigmore Hall.

“Every year we are so inspired by the breadth, imagination and astonishing level of applicants across all disciplines. I think our selection of finalists truly reflect this range and ambition of musical  personalities and we can’t wait to see which of them progress to become part of our current YCAT family of artists,” said Chief Executive and Artistic Director Alasdair Tait.

Based in Switzerland, Morley is a keen improviser, chamber and a specialist in contemporary music performance. He has delivered the world premiere of solo works by Liza Lim and Josephine Macken, chamber works by Bree van Reyk and Séverine Ballon and an orchestral work by Thomas Adès, among others. He has also performed with the Tasmanian and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Apex and the Penny and Partridge Quartets.

James Morley, Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House. Photo © Cassandra Hannagan

His recent performance credits include a debut solo recital at the Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Room and appearances at UKARIA, Phoenix Central Park and Sydney Festival. In 2023, Morley toured nationally with French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and Japanese-born, Australian-based koto virtuoso Satsuki Odamura for Musica Viva Australia’s Silk, Metal, Wood program. He was a finalist for the 2020 Freedman Fellowship, and was  a 2019 Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

YCAT is a music charity founded in 1984 that supports early-career solo and chamber musicians who work in classical music. Past artists include cellist Li-Wei Qin, violinist Thomas Gould, violist Timothy Ridout and Australian pianist Daniel de Borah. This year marks its 40th anniversary.

In 2022, YCAT partnered with the Bendigo Chamber Music Festival, which brings international rising classical music performers to the festival program. In 2023, YCAT launched an additional partnership with BCFM director and cellist Chris Howlett to open up opportunities for young artists in China and the Far East.

James Morley will perform at Wigmore Hall on 16 May. More information about YCAT can be found here.

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