James Wade developed an interest in music comparatively late which allowed his compositions to be largely influenced by philosophical ideas and concepts from nature, rather than by other composers or genres of music. Themes relating to environment, identity, and the nature of life feature prominently in his work.
Born in Melbourne and educated at the University of Melbourne, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Sydney, he received a Bachelor of Arts having studied philosophy, psychology and music history prior to turning his attention seriously towards music. Studying voice with Steven Grant, then composition with Stuart Greenbaum, Johanna Selleck and Brenton Broadstock, he graduated again from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Music (Honours). After several years of international travel and work including composition studies at the University of British Columbia in Canada, he returned to Australia to continue Master studies at the University of Sydney and complete a PhD in Composition at the University of Melbourne with Brenton Broadstock. James has worked with many Australian, New Zealand and international composers and conductors including Brett Dean, Elliott Gyger, Matthew Hindson, James Ledger, Hamish McKeich, Richard Mills, Benjamin Northey, Paul Stanhope and Kenneth Young, amongst others.
James' music has been commissioned and performed widely in Australia and internationally by numerous musicians and groups including Australian String Quartet, Halcyon, Plexus, the Melbourne, Tasmanian, Vancouver and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras. James is a passionate educator and advocate for Australian and New Zealand music. He has worked as a broadcaster on ABC Classic FM nationally and 3MBS in Melbourne and also frequently presents at live performances. James has received many awards and prizes and was the 2012/2013 recipient of the Hephzibah Tintner Fellowship, creating new music with the Sydney Dance Company, Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and the Sydney Symphony. In 2017 James is a Composer Fellow at the Intimacy of Creativity Chamber Music Festival at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.