Stemming from his belief that classical music is for all James is currently involved with research into changing orchestral concert practices, how attitudes towards classical music impact upon attendance at orchestral events and exploring ways in which orchestras can engage meaningfully with a wider public.
James has been involved with education projects led by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, The Hallé Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra with Winsor Music and the New Bristol Sinfonia, involving people from the under fives to the elderly.
He works regularly with youth and student orchestras, including the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra of whom he is Artistic Director, the Nottingham Youth Orchestra where his Artistic Advisor and student ensembles from the both the Royal Scottish Conservatoire’s senior and junior departments. He has also worked with the musicians of Sistema Scotland in collaborations with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He was formerly the Artistic Director of the University of Edinburgh Music Society, one of the oldest and largest university music societies in the UK, conducting their Symphony Orchestra, Choral Society and Sinfonia, and leading numerous international tours. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of Music for Everyone, an independent arts organisation with over twenty five years’ experience in devising and running innovative music participation events across Nottingham and the East Midlands.
James is also establishing himself as a teacher of conducting, with students of his achieving conducting success at Oxford, Durham, Bristol, Edinburgh universities and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has led classes for postgraduate conductors at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, in addition to teaching with Professor Johannes Schlaefli on international conducting workshops, and teaching the class of the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.
In addition to being the Artistic Director of the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra, Lowe is Orchestras Advisor of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland where he also conducts the Senior Orchestra and was Music Director of the Hallé Harmony Youth Orchestra, an orchestra that used the power of classical symphonic music to bring together young people from a range of backgrounds. The project was filmed by Diverse Productions for four documentary programmes broadcast on Channel 4 in 2010. The programmes documented the shared journey of the orchestra from audition through to the final public concert and demonstrated how music has the power to transform lives, unite communities and effect social change.
In their own words...
Members of the West of Scotland and Hallé Harmony Youth Orchestras talk about music:
"A force powerful enough not only to delight the senses and move the soul, but more astonishingly to get young people to display the quality of enthusiasm!"
"When you're playing in an orchestra, you're delving into someone's past thoughts and passing them down through the generations."
"In an orchestra there is a sense of family, a place of belonging. A place of souls."
"When I play I can be anyone I want to be..."
"Music is a way of showing people the real you."
"I'd be lost without music. Music is my passion. Music is my life."
"Music allows you to create something unique every time."
"Music allows us to learn to be patient"
"Music is a gift for both player and listener, and we could all do with being more generous."