James Layton is a composer and musician based in London, UK. His music seeks to explore non-climactic forms which slowly unfold and focus on the juxtaposition of progression and stasis.  His use of patterns, permutation and repetition aims to draw listeners into the fabric of the music, while playing with ideas of time and memory. He often works with lo-fi electronics in the form of cassette tapes and guitar fx pedals, creating long-form compositions and installations, often with a combination of acoustic and electronic elements.


His latest orchestral piece Focal received its premiere in London, performed by the Trinity Laban Shapeshifter Orchestra, conducted by Kwamé Ryan in February 2019. It was also performed in Ostrava, Czech Republic at the opening concert of the Ostrava New Music Days 2019 by the ONO Orchestra, conducted by Petr Kotík, alongside works by Marc Sabat, Chaya Czernowin and Bernhard Lang in August 2019.

As an instrumentalist he has performed his own music and the music of his peers at venues throughout London, such as St John’s Smith Square, Kings Place, Blackheath Halls, the Albany and the Cockpit Theatre.


James studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Composition under Sam Hayden, Paul Newland, Stephen Montague and Gwyn Pritchard, and Viola with Richard Crabtree. He was also a resident at the Ostrava New Music Days 2019, attending seminars with Petr Kotík, Chaya Czernowin, Marc Sabat, Klaas de Vries and Christian Wolff.


© 2017 James Layton.

Photography: Jonathan Edward Layton