James Spencer is an internationally acclaimed concert pianist performing and recording both classical and jazz repertoire. He is the founder of Spencer Music and Artist Development where he coaches students of all ages and levels in piano, harpsichord, digital keyboards, voice, acting, strings, music theory/composition, songwriting, music therapy and music industry. Located in Belmont Shore, CA, his artist development roster including leadings artists in musical theatre, television and the recording industry.
Born into a noted musical family, James Spencer's great-great grandfather on his mother's side is the noted Galician Spanish composer Canuto Berea Rodriguez. His mother Dolores is a soubrette coloratura soprano and his father Charles a noted Country Western performer. James is the oldest of six siblings and began his piano studies at age 4. Concertizing from the age of seven, he gave his first orchestral debut as part of the young artist series of Orange County, CA performing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at age twelve (1984) with members of the Pacific Symphony and Orange County Youth Orchestra.
Competitions and Award Credits for Keyboard include: Joanna Hodges' International PIano Competition (guest artist, accompanist and competitor) 1982-1986, Chapman University Piano Concerto Competition (junior division 1st place) 1985, Academic Decathlon Performing Arts Nationals (1st place: Performed Gershwin's Concerto in F (age 17) 1986, MTAC Young Artist Series' and KCET Television Debut Concert Artist, California State Bach Festival Featured Artist (1986), MTAC Certificate of Merit Featured Artist of the Year (1985-1986), Featured Pianist International Ragtime Festival (New Orleans, Louisiana)
James graduated with the keyboard areas' highest honors with both a Master and Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Keyboard Performance and Vocal Collaborative Arts from California State University Fullerton (1995, 1992). He also graduated from Hypnosis Motivation Institute and hold certifications in clinical hypnotherapy, nutrition and sound therapy (2006). James has studied with leading concert pianists including: Dr. Lucinda Carver (USC), Dr. Malcolm Hamilton (USC), Dr. Rob Watson (CSUF), Dr. Burton Karson (CSUF), Dr. Rita Fussek (CSUF), Adrienne Iagjian and Joanna Hodges. Masterclasses including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andreij Dutkiewicz, Oscar Peterson, and Earl Wild. He is currently working on his fellowship in musicology/ethnomusicology from London College of Music.
James Spencer is a classical specialist in French Repertoire with an emphasis on the Impressionists Debussy and Ravel, and on Les Six composers Poulenc and Milhaud. James has also performed 6 of the 27 W. A. Mozart Piano Concerti, and has recorded and performed in two piano versions the complete works of George Gershwin.
James has performed as a classical piano soloist in the US and Canada as well as guest artist with symphonies and chamber music ensembles. As a jazz pianist and lyric baritone Mr. Spencer began his performances in his youth performing as a ragtime and stride pianist for the Disneyland Resort (Anaheim, CA), and then went on to perform for resorts, yacht and country clubs, and jazz clubs internationally. Specializing in Cool Jazz, Exotica and Brazilian, his solo album Blue Gardenia received critical acclaim and may be heard on such shows as The Cocktail Nation (with Koop Kooper); The Martini Hour, The Cool Jazz Connection and Midnight Reveries. Performance credits include: Cinegrill (Hollywood), Westin Bonaventure (Los Angeles), Ritz Carlton Resort and Spa (Laguna Niguel), Hilton Waterfront (Huntington Beach), Jazz'd (Savannah), Tonga Room (San Francisco), and The Halekulani Resort (Honolulu). His NIGHTFALL album (2013) was honored as one of the top jazz lounge albums of 2014 by Cocktail Nation (Sydney, Aus).
PIANO CLASSICS FOR REFLECTION (Piano Classics Volume I) is James Spencer's first international solo piano release in a collection of classical piano standards. The album also used the latest in IST for sound therapy use. IST stands for Infratonic Sound Therapy.. where sound waves are added undetectably in the background to promote stress release, and relaxation.
VALSE ROMANTIQUE (Piano Classics Volume II) was released in the springl of 2014. James is joined by French pianist Roger Helkein in collaborative 4-hand piano valse repertoire that includes music from the Tschaikovsky ballet suites, and works of Faure, and Chabrier. James rounds out the album with valses by Albeniz, Schutt, Debussy and Satie.
NIGHTFALL: Nightfall is the followup cocktail piano jazz album to BLUE GARDENIA (released in 2013). NIGHTFALL is inspired by film noir, and contains 13 sensual, romantic, mysterious and ethereal selections containing James' new compositions as well as new jazz improvs on musical sketches by Billy Strayhorn, Ahmad Jamal, Mike Corda/Johnny Mercer, Leonard Bernstein and Peter de Rose. The album also contains haunting 20th century classical virtuosic masterpieces by composers Cyril Scott and Francis Poulenc.
James Spencer is also a musicologist, film lecturer-historian and published author. His biography on cool jazz vocalist and actress Julie London entitled LADY LIBERTY: THE DEFINITIVE JULIE LONDON HANDBOOK as well as his biography of Kurt Weill entitled AN HISTORICAL STUDY OF KURT WEILL'S DER SILBERSEE are currently available for purchase at Amazon under the pen name J.R. Spencer. He also wrote the noted book VINTAGE VEGAN: THE ART OF VEGAN TEA HOSTING.
For information on private studies with James Spencer, artist development/agent management auditions/portfolio submissions, book signings and upcoming performances: He may be reached by email at email@example.com or contact the school at: 562 394 2694. More information is available through his website: Jamesrspencer.com