James Lowrie’s music looks to make the serious things funny and the funny things serious. His music is concerned with pacing. What does it mean to go on for too long? What does it mean to not go on long enough? Often, he takes harmony from pop’s past and present as a starting point, and tries to infuse specificity into every moment of music. James is interested in what is expected of a composer when asked to write a piece, and of a piece when it is asked to be written by a composer. Can the composer, performer, audience, and music all find new ways of getting along?

The Bozzini Quartet, The FAWN Collective, The Array Ensemble, The Toy Piano Composers and the Caution Tape Sound Collective have all performed his works in concert. In 2019, he participated in the Soundstreams Emerging Composer Workshop writing for the Rolston String Quartet.

James graduated from the University of Toronto’s composition program in 2013. While teaching English in France in 2014/15 studied informally with composer Jean-Philippe Bec at the Conservatoire de Rouen, lessons paid for with genuine Prince Edward County Maple Syrup. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Composition at the University of Western Ontario with Omar Daniel.

James’s instrument is the classical guitar. A student of the great Eli Kassner for over a decade, James has performed at numerous events in Toronto including the Guitar Society of Toronto and solo recital tours in South Eastern Ontario. Though he is loath to admit it, the guitar is central to how he thinks about harmony and texture.

James has also worked as a stand up comedian. Careful sleuthing around Youtube might even unearth a few of his performances in this capacity.


Q: Now that you've lived in France does that mean you talk about how the food is better over there all the time in an annoying way?
A: Mais oui, bien sûr!

Q: Did you write a piece for guitar and paper shredder?
A: Yes. Furthermore, I am proud of it. 

Q: When you say you only have ‘half of one kidney’ does this mean that the other one and a half kidneys have been removed?
A: No, they are still there, they just don't work. Why does everyone ask me this? 

Q: I need to put your year of birth on my program. What is it?
A: 1990.