Born and educated in the North East of England, James Tradgett attended school in North Tyneside, taking piano lessons from an early age, and also singing as a treble in his church choir. He started learning the ‘cello at the age of 8, taking lessons in school for six years, before commencing studies with Rosie Biss, principal of the Northern Sinfonia, at the age of 15. A year later he joined the Sage Gateshead's prestigious weekend music school, where he continued to study ‘cello and chamber music with Rosie, and piano with Venera Bojkova. James was principal ‘cello of his school orchestra, as well as of North Tyneside Youth Orchestra between 2004 and 2006. At the Sage Gateshead, he was assistant principal of the Young Sinfonia, the award winning youth orchestra of the North of England, for three years. In 2009, James joined the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, with whom he played principal ‘cello between 2010 and 2011. With NYOS he performed all around the UK and Ireland in venues such as Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, The Sage Gateshead and The National Concert Hall in Dublin.

In April 2011, James toured Scotland with the chamber orchestra Camerata Scotland, performing in a world premiere of Rory Boyle's Bassoon Concerto "That Blessed Wood", and earlier in the same year he was invited to the final round auditions for the European Union Youth Orchestra in London. As an orchestral musician, James has performed at various UK festivals, including the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, Three Choirs in Worcester, Rydale Festival in Cumbria, and the West End Festival in Glasgow, and has toured internationally, performing in venues around Poland, Germany and The Netherlands. He has also performed on BBC Radio 3, Radio Scotland and Radio Newcastle, as well as on Polish Television, and most recently appeared on the BBC's "The One Show".
It was in 2008 that James began his studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama), where he is currently in his fourth and final year of his BMus Honours Performance Degree, studying 'cello under Robert Irvine. He will continue his studies in September 2012, returning to the Conservatoire to study for an MMus in performance. James has performed with all of the Conservatoire's orchestras, including the Chamber and Opera orchestras as principal cello, and the Symphony orchestra as co-principal, as well as the String orchestra. In addition, James has had opportunities to perform with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Northern Sinfonia.


As a soloist, James has performed in numerous recitals and competitions, both in Tyneside and in Glasgow, as well as for various weddings and events. Most recently in August 2011, he performed in a well received Lunchtime Recital at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, performing a programme of Bach, Kodaly and George Crumb. He been taught in masterclasses by various renowned cellists over the years; these include Paul Marleyn, Johannes Goritzki, Louise Hopkins, Pierre Doumenge, Thomas Carroll, Boris Andrianov and Jian Wang, in addition to having attended numerous masterclasses given by cellists such as Alexander Baillie, Frans Helmerson, Natalie Clein and Colin Carr. 


James is an increasingly active chamber musician, and has played in various duos, trios, quartets and other chamber ensembles in and outside of the conservatoire. He is a founder member of the Argyll String Quartet with three other conservatoire students, with whom he has played various events, from weddings and receptions to the Royal Highland Show in 2010. He has received chamber music coaching from Peter Manning, Julian Jacobson and Pavlo Beznosiuk (Avison Ensemble), as well as members of the Brodsky, Dante & Zehetmair Quartets and the Rachmaninov & Da Vinci Trios. He has also attended the “Cadenza” International Summer School for two years.

As a keen baroque ‘cellist, James played continuo for the 'Early Music Consort' in North Tyneside for a number of years, under the direction of harpsichordist Andrew Soulsby. With the EMC, he enjoyed concerts all around Tyneside, performing in the concertino of concerti grossi by Bach, Handel and Avison, as well as various other works by Purcell, Blow, Geminiani and Vivaldi. He is currently studying baroque 'cello and viola da gamba at the conservatoire under the tuition of Alison McGillivray, principal of the English Concert, and is currently a continuo ‘cellist with the conservatoire's baroque ensemble, as well as being a member of the viol consort. Outside the Academy, James has performed with the Dunedin Consort, under the direction of John Butt.
Since moving to Scotland, James has become much more involved with contemporary music, and has performed various late 20th/early 21st century works, as well as premiering numerous new compositions, including works by John de Simone, Richard Greer, Rory Boyle and Kevan O'Reilly. He has performed numerous times at the conservatoire's "Plug" Contemporary Music Festival, with upcoming performances at the 2012 festival. In February 2011 he took second prize in the Violoncello Challenge competition at the conservatoire, performing Scottish composer Eddie McGuire's "Prelude No. 1" for solo ‘cello.


Aside from his classical career, James very much enjoys going beyond conventional orchestral/chamber performance, and has performed with artists such as Jimmy Nail and Tim Healy, Deep Purple's Jon Lord, Lindisfarne's Billy Mitchell and AC/DC's Brian Johnson. He regularly collaborates with Tyneside bands and musicians, such as Stuart McCallum and 'Ajimal'. He also takes a keen interest in musical theatre, and has performed in the orchestras of productions of Calamity Jane, The Sound of Music, West side Story and Oliver! as principal 'cello.

Currently, James plays on a beautiful 17th Century English 'cello, on loan to him from the Royal Conservatoire.