Welcome to my opinions page.

Nothing is black and white, but for what it's worth, these are some of the comments made over the years with regard to my concert works.

Alison Balsom on Conversation with Chet

“A fascinating and exciting work. The infusion of Chet Baker’s wound world is truly original – a great addition to the solo trumpet repertoire”. – Alison Balsom

by Alison Balsom, Trumpeter

Sarah Walker on Conversation with Chet

I thought you would appreciate hearing that Stan Sulzmann, the British jazz saxophonist and composer phoned us at the BBC after the broadcast of Conversation with Chet on Hear and Now to say how moved he was by it and what a wonderful piece he thought it was. He apparently stayed sat in his car when he arrived home to listen to the end of the broadcast. I'm sure you will be glad to know that your work is admired by one of the UK's leading jazz luminaries!

by Sarah Walker, presenter on 'Hear and Now', BBC Radio 3

Dame Evelyn Glennie on Toilers of the Elements

'A wonderful new concerto which explores the real subtlety and musicality of percussion playing in relation to the string orchestra. James Barrett allows the performers to delve into so much more than what the written page can project. He injects this need for us all, performers and audience alike, to use all our senses to participate in the piece'.

by Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussionist

Michael Church on Toilers of the Elements

‘Having explored Glennie's arsenal, Barrett had settled for a lovely combinaton of Vibes, Marimba, tam-tams, "waterphones", and a mellow-toned "Hapi" drum. The dialogue between soloist and orchestra was by turns lyrical and explosive. The orchestral writing had a Stravinskyan tinge, while the solo part gave full scope to Glennie's virtuosity: this "Fantasy for Percussion and Strings" deserves to be heard again soon.'

by Michael Church, The Independent

Mark Anthony Turnage on Conversation with Chet

'I loved the Trumpet Concerto. It's beautifully written for the soloist and the orchestration is gorgeous'.

by Mark Anthony Turnage, composer

Nicholas Riddle on Conversation with Chet

Conversation with Chet stood out as a work of extraordinary technical fluency and musical expressiveness. It demonstrates great sensitivity in orchestral colouring, as well as a marvellously lyrical handling of the material that nonetheless avoids the clichés and trite sentimentality that might have been easy to fall into in less assured hands. It is music that reaches out to its audience without talking down to them, and yet manages to create the clear impression of the “conversation” of the title. The instinctive musicianship exhibited by this work is undoubtedly the reason that Sir Roger Norrington felt its composer would be the right one to commission. The key thing with a composer is surely the distinctiveness of the voice: is the music just another example of someone ploughing an existing furrow that is just getting its edges widened, or is there something about it that demands attention in a way that is different from all others? Is the composer saying something with it that wants to be heard and in a way that gets your attention and keeps it? In James Barrett’s case, I believe the answer to be a resounding yes.

by Nicholas Riddle, Group CEO, Peters Edition Music Publishers

Suzanne Rolt on Stato d'Animo

'It was one of the best received premieres we have held in recent years'

by Suzanne Rolt, Artistic Director at St. George's Brandon Hill, Bristol

St. Georges on Stato d'Animo

'James Barrett's Stato d'Animo struck me as a highly impressive and accomplished work, full of fantasy and colour and written with an innate feel for the medium of the string quartet'

by John Pickard, composer, Senior Lecturer in composition at Bristol University, trustee of St. Georges

Sir Roger Norrington on Conversation with Chet

'Congratulations - you have written a great piece'

by Sir Roger Norrington, conductor

Marcus Stockhausen on Conversation with Chet

'Thank you for letting me hear your work Conversation with Chet. You have great workmanship as a composer and some fantastic ideas..'

by Marcus Stockhausen, trumpeter

Sanctuary Classics on Conversation with Chet and First Born

'I have now had a chance to listen to your CDs. I think your music is really fantastic, and really does strike a balance between the intellectual and the emotional. .....Stick at it, as your music is great and needs to be heard more!’

by Pollyanna Gunning, A&R Manager, Sanctuary Classics

James Brown on First Born and Point of Entry

On First Born - ‘I am aware of an inner driving force (exactly what it is, or if it can be defined) which carries you forward right to the last bar. This to me means much more than any formal organisation of material.’

On Point of Entry - ‘Some wonderful sonorities and textures – First Chair made a big impact on me’

by James Brown, composer and composition lecturer at University of Leeds

Peters Edition on Conversation with Chet

‘My colleagues and I listened with great interest to your new concerto; everyone was impressed by the standard of your music....... You are clearly a composer with an extraordinary musical ability, and we believe that your career is more than promising’

by Edition Peters music publishers

Arts Council England on Stato d'Animo

'It's a considerable challenge for 21st century composers to find a way of writing for the traditional form of the acoustic string quartet. James Barrett has risen to the challenge and has produced a work which I think will delight audiences from the south west and further afield.'

by Nick Capaldi, Arts Council England, South West Executive Director

Sony Classical on Point of Entry and First Born

My colleagues have listened through again to the material you sent and wanted me to let you know that they are very impressed with it. They particularly liked the violin piece, and felt that it could well have a place in concert programming.... We wish you well, and I hope you'll take something from the fact that your talent is admired!

by Alison Riach, Director - A+R, Sony Classical

Norrington on Point of Entry and First Born

'.......dictating this in the car on the way to the airport, I can tell you how much I enjoyed the CD. Both pieces are very fine (and very well performed!). I was particularly delighted with First Born, which I found extremely beautiful'

by Sir Roger Norrington, conductor

Metier Records on First Born

'It has a good deal of emotional strength and communicates this within a familiar language. These both are qualities that will I am sure bring you great success’

by Devid Lefeber, Proprietor, Metier Records