James Ledger developed an interest in composition at a young age, but didn’t put this into practice until much later in life. He attended the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music and graduated in performance on the French horn. He then spent four years in England working as an arranger and music copyist on a variety of projects. On returning to Australia, he has focused solely on composition.
His orchestral piece Habits of Creatures won the 2004 3MBS National Composers Award and was premiered by Orchestra Victoria under Simone Young. In 2005, his arrangement of Richard Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder was premiered by Felicity Lott with the Nash Ensemble under Bernard Haitink.
Ledger is composer-in-residence with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra for 2007-08.Past residencies held include a composer attachment with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and in 2004, a residency with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand.
In addition to concert music, he has composed soundtracks for several short films and documentaries for the ABC, SBS and independent filmmakers. Ledger’s orchestral music has been used with the West Australian Ballet for seasons in 2000 and 2003.
Current commissions include works for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and the West Australian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras. In July 2007, the Australian Youth Orchestra are performing Habits of Creatures on their European tour.