Recital St John’s Church, Glastonbury –  September 2016

James has recently given a lunch time concert in the Church of St John Glastonbury. This was a very varied and interesting programme of classical guitar music and attracted a good number of people. His playing and enthusiasm made this event very special and we hope very much that he will come to St John’s in the future.

A very talented and entertaining musician.

Derek Dorey
Director of Music St John’s Glastonbury

Comments after James’ Belper Festival Performance

Enjoying the trees outside St Peters Church before my Belper Festival performance in May 2015

Enjoying the trees outside St Peters Church before my Belper Festival performance in May 2015

“What an absolutely beautiful concert you treated us to. From beginning to end it was such a delight. Thank you so much. You as a performer just seem to bring out the best from this glorious instrument and the repertoire. Many many of the audience were sitting eyes closed, just drinking in the beautiful sounds……..”

Beate Toyka, Concert Pianist and Belper Festival Organiser.






Valentines Day Performance -The Bulls Head in Repton, Derbyshire.

Bulls Head Logo



“Thank you so much for playing for us last night. Your music in the Restaurant was just perfect. It set exactly the right tone for Valentine’s Day. Thank you also for doing an encore for us! I had lovely feedback from the guests (and our team) and they thoroughly enjoyed it. I will certainly recommend you to our guests and just want to say a very big ‘Thank you’ for making the evening so special for our guests.”

Loren Pope The Bulls Head, Repton.

Horsley Church RecitalConcert with James Rippingale

St Clements Church, 28th September

A gathering of some fifty people made up the audience and awaited the start of this classical guitar recital. This was my initiation to this instrument, so I didn’t know what to expect.

James began by introducing two Bach transcriptions. These couldn’t have been better and my concentration was captured from the outset. Wonderful melodies and harmonic progressions immediately found their way to my musical soul. Throughout the evening clear discriptions of each piece were given, with technical demonstrations, where needed, for any special effect. These were a great help and added interest. Pieces had been chosen from around the world, from South America to Japan, plus three compositions of his own creation. These were a pleasing addition, particularly with the stories behind them.

This was a truly full and varied programme, performed with exquisite skill and sensitivity, from a full blooded sound to the merest whisper on a single string. A live performance of this quality on a guitar came as a suprise.

Inevitably the recital ended on a high note with a set of Spanish Dances, well known to most of us. It was a magnificent evening, from a very talented musician. It offered an opportunity to witness a classical guitarist putting his instrument through many techniques, with dramatic results.

I feel sure that all those who attended valued the high quality and, like me, enjoyed and exceptional evening.

Thank-you James

Geoff Toms

Chesterfield Library Lunchtime Concert – January 2013

“James Rippingale performed a wonderful programme – much of it evoking the magic of Andalucia. His skilled playing, complimented by easy and informative introductions delighted the lunchtime concert audience. Despite the winter snow, James filled the hall with sunshine!”

Andrew Marples, Organiser, Chesterfield Library Lunchtime Concerts

Southwell Minster Solo Recital – November 2011

“On a cold, dark November evening, The Great Hall of Southwell Minster was warmed by the delicate and engaging playing of James Rippingale. Taking us from Japan to South America and back to home territory with his own delightful compositions, James’ playing showed dexterity, passion and subtlety made all the more wonderful by the intimate and beautiful surroundings.”

Philip White-Jones, Assistant Director of Music at Southwell Minster

Sound Bites Benefit Guitar Recital – September 2011

“James’ generosity was matched by his superb performance and imaginative programming. From richly evocative melodies of Spain, through moving South American rhythms to the mesmeric “Electric Counterpoint”, encored with an achingly beautiful Japanese-style own composition, the evening was an eye-opening mix of delights.The full house in the perfect setting of St. Mary’s Chapel on the Bridge in Derby went home delighted to have been so expertly exposed to such a breadth of repertoire for the classical guitar.”

Sound Bites Co-op Team

A Sculpture by Simon Manby Inspired by James Rippingale's Recital at Mayfields Music Society

A Sculpture by Simon Manby Inspired by James Rippingale’s Recital at Mayfields Music Society

Mayfields Music Society – Solo Classical Guitar Recital 2009 

“James gave a recital in Mayfield earlier this year.  The programme was a delight with a repetoire rangeing from classical to contemporary.  At all times his playing and interpretation of the music was excellent. James is a tallented musician who is a pleasure to listen too.”- Vic Needham, Mayfields Music Society (2009)





melbournefestivaMelbourne Festival Performance Solo Guitar Recital 2009

Melbourne Festival welcomed James Rippingale back for the third year running and, as always, he delighted the sell out crowd with inspirational, sensitive playing. There were old favourites and new material, which demonstrated how he continues to improve and grow as a guitarist of rare and exciting talent. James’ diffident charm contributed towards the atmosphere of  quiet genius making it truly a night to remember. – Stef Hill.  Melbourne Festival (2009)


Rodrigo Concerto Performance with Peter Stark and the DYO at Buxton Octagon

Rodrigo Concerto Performance with Peter Stark and the DYO at Buxton Octagon

Comment on Rodrigo Concerto performance 2009 by Peter Stark – Conductor

“James Rippingale’s performance of Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto was both  accomplished and musically assured; it was a pleasure to work with a  soloist so sensitive.”




Review of Rodrigo Concerto at Buxton Octagon with DYO under Peter Stark 17th July 2009 Octagon Buxton

This was the showcase finale to the Summer Course for the Derbyshire Youth Orchestra – both they and their audience were huge in numbers! And apparently they only got the music 5 days ago! They shared the stage with the recently formed Youth Chorale who will attend their own residential course soon.

The opener was the well loved Hansel and Gretel Overture. Peaceful forest sounds leading to soaring climaxes and overall it made a very pleasant start to the evening.

Next up was the choir who sang four short pieces. Quite a range from African call-and-response, the lovely BlueBird ballad (with soprano solo from Frances Gregory) with such a delicate balance, and a quite lively Chilcott ‘boogie’ spiritual. Overall they made a satisfying blended sound.

The centrepiece of the concert was the evocative Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo with guitar soloist James Rippingdale. James is also playing solo recitals around the area on the Fringe (you can still catch him at St Peter’s on the 18th and Buxton Methodist on the 20th) and has made quite an impression on the scene since graduating in 2001. He is clearly a very talented, but modest musician, a master of his instrument making the concerto (played from memory) effortless and controlled.

The Octagon, Buxton

The well known Adagio opened with simple guitar chords accompanying a beautifully played cor anglais solo (Rees Webster) – the latter with exquisite phrasing and rubato. The guitar cadenza was both awesome and flawless – what a feast. The gentle Allegro ended this wonderful concerto – the final movement having a complex , but delicate rhythm throughout in keeping with Rodrigo’s suggestion that the concerto “should only be as strong as a butterfly….a suggestion of times past.” Lovely.

Considering that the students only saw the music five days ago, tackling the monster score of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story” might seem ambitious – but not for the cream of Derbyshire’s orchestral talent. The suite is arranged from the full “West Side” show score and contains all the best bits including Somewhere, Cool, Cha Cha and the great jazz riffs and mayhem of the Mambo and Rumble. The DCCYO did not disappoint. Their Somewhere – with its gorgeous cello and horn solos – was something else! In Mambo, all the strings stood up on queue to shout ‘Mambo!’ (quite a sight) and Cool was just a fantastic rock jazz jam for full orchestra – amazing!

If you missed them, sorry, this was a one off – but do look out for them next year, and remember James Rippingale is still on the Fringe this year.

Martin Bisknell


General.18Buxton Fringe Review – Solo Recital at Christ Church Kingsterndale 16th July 2009

Christchurch, King Sterndale provided the perfect acoustic for the young guitar virtuoso, James Rippingale. It enabled him to exploit his technical mastery of his instrument from the delicate complexity of the work of American Composer, Lou Harrison to the dramatic contrasts within his own compositions; he explained in his excellent introduction to the three works of his own composition, that they constituted three-fifths of his output as a composer! His own work stands proudly beside the work of Villa Lobos, John Dowland and William Walton whose work he presented with technical mastery and compelling musicality.

He introduced each piece in the concert with a sincerity and insight that made the whole concert totally compelling.Anyone who is after a true Festival experience should sample the work of this young man; there are several more opportunities in the next few days. If you have not yet chosen your event for tomorrow evening (Fri. 17 July) you should be sure to secure a seat in the Octagon, where he will play (for the first time in his career) the Rodrigo Guitar concerto with the Derbyshire Youth Orchestra: AN ABSOLUTE MUST !!! You will also find details of a couple of recitals in local churches in the fringe brochure.

Malcolm Fraser


Review by Dr. Roger Kendall Solo Guitar Recital at St James The Less New Mills, Derbyshire. 7th July 2007

 The banner behind James Rippingale, the first classical guitarist to give a recital at his namesake’s church, read: ‘Be still…’ His appreciative audience on 7th July needed no urging. You could have heard a pin drop throughout the entire performance as James took them on an enchanting acoustic journey from the hymn-like ‘Tibetan Prayer Song’ by Ben Verdery, with its dramatic outburst of percussion, to the delicate harmonics of Yuquijiro Yoch’s ‘Sakura Variations.’ The Sakura, or cherry blossom, is well-known in Japanese art and verse as a symbol of the ephemeral in life, and as James drew out the haunting melody of the folk song, you could have heard the petals of the blossom gently falling.

James’ careful attention to the dynamics of this piece, as to all the others in his recital, was admirable, and the beautiful acoustic of the soon-to-be-designated St James Arts Centre served him and his Pete Barton guitar well. The different tones he coaxed from his instrument – full and resonant in the bass, and clear and sparkling in the treble strings – and the different rhythms he explored, including some dramatic bursts of Flamenco playing, showed James’ wonderful versatility and perfectly loving rapport between him and his instrument.

James Rippingale has been playing the guitar since he was 10 and, having graduated from the Leeds College of Music, is already well on the way to becoming a consummate professional. His choice of pieces made for a varied and captivating programme, with an enjoyable mixture of his own well-crafted compositions, classical composers (Dowland’s ‘A Fancy,’ a Bach ‘Prelude,’ and two Scarlatti sonatas) and contemporary: the lyricism and melodies of American composer Lou Harrison. Andrew York’s ‘Sunburst’ (another American composer) with its fast fingering and jazz-rock-derived rhythms made a fitting and energetic finale.

James always introduced the items in his programme in a relaxed and confident manner … explaining clearly points of interest in the music he was about to play, and setting his audience at ease from the beginning. His delight in playing for us was evident with every rapturous applause he took from an almost full St James.’

This recital will be remembered for a long time by all those who were privileged to hear this young musician. There is a treat in store for anyone who has bought tickets for his Buxton lunchtime recital on Thursday 19th.

Dr. Roger Kendall

Review of James Rippingale Solo Guitar Recital at Buxton Methodist Church 24th July 2008

On 24th July in the early afternoon a good sized audience by fringe standards attended a classical guitar concert given by James Rippingale.

The audience were enthralled by the sensitive and gentle playing of James Rippingale. He showed a mastery of the instrument being sensitive to the phrasing and dynamics and his playing conveyed an understanding of the whole structure of the pieces performed. But most of all in my view he showed the utmost respect for the composers he chose. He introduced each piece very well with a quiet voice which was reflected in a quiet and thoughtful interpretation of the pieces he played. It was noticeable that his technical control became greater as the concert proceeded.

His verbal introductions gave much interesting and relevant information such as the importance of Tarrega developments including the free stroke which subsequently influenced Segovia, Lou Harrison rebelliously composing a piece entirely in the major in 1952 and the early neglect of Mangore.

The repertoire chosen gave a good representation of the classical guitar repertoire. He played pieces by Dowland from the renaissance period, sonatas originally written for the harpsichord by Scarlatti from the baroque period, the famous variations on a theme from Mozart’s Magic Flute from the classical period 3 pieces by Tarrega from the romantic period and several pieces from the 20th century by Agustin Barrios Mangore, William Walton, Andrew York Yuquijiro Yocoh and Lou Harrison.

A beautiful choice of piece was the Lou Harrison piece called Serenade dated 12 February 1952. It was written as part of a letter to one of the composer’s friends who was studying the guitar. Lou Harrison says, “This Serenade for guitar was written for Frank Wigglesworth as part of a private letter to him.” This piece reflected the intimate approach which James Rippingale had in his concert.

The last piece in his concert was the energetic piece called Sunburst by Andrew York and was a fitting ending to a concert which had so many different genres. This piece combined a wide range of styles including jazz and rock.

The encore piece was a prelude by Antonio Lauro, a Venezuelan composer who died in 1986.He introduced this piece as the one which caused him to be hooked on the classical guitar. I am sure, if not hooked, many of the members of the audience would have increased their interest in the instrument and the composers represented.

The acoustics in the Methodist Church helped the music to resound and do it justice.

I hope James Rippingale keeps playing at Buxton.

Roger Horvath

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