James Alexandropoulos-McEwan is a Greek–Scottish composer whose work moves between contemporary classical, rock and electronic music. His training in music began when he started studying the classical guitar at the age of ten, but he soon started teaching himself the electric guitar and got his first experience of composing music by writing for rock bands, in which he performed around Athens, Greece.
James left Greece at the age of eighteen, and after briefly attending Bennington College in Vermont, U.S.A. where he took various courses in Literature, Music and other subjects, James studied composition at Birmingham Conservatoire under Andrew Hamilton, Riaan Vosloo and Ed Bennett. He graduated with a BMus Composition degree with first-class honours. He was also the winner of the 2016 Birmingham Chamber Music Society Composition Prize, which was adjudicated by Richard Ayres. While studying at Birmingham, James was also part of the Birthday Present ensemble which he formed with three other classmates and which focused on performances of long duration concerts. He played guitar for the ensemble and composed several new works for the group. He also formed Ethel, a ten-piece ensemble in which he played electric guitar and for which he wrote the forty-minute composition Between Places. The group consisted of a mix of classical and jazz players, and James used several forms of notation that combined through-notated, improvised and aleatoric elements in various ways. James is currently pursuing an MMus Composition degree at The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, where he studies under Yannis Kyriakides and Guus Janssen. He continues to play electric guitar in his own compositions and compositions of his classmates, as well as in his band Quaich, which is currently based in den Haag. He is still exploring new ways of bridging his loves of classical, rock, and electronic music. His Master Research for the course, titled “Movable Furniture Music: Creating Music of Engageable Ambience” explores ways that contemporary classical composition can find a new space in the listening habits of 21st century listeners.