Critically acclaimed musician Jamie Akers was hailed as ‘the great Scottish guitarist’ by Classical Guitar Magazine and, in a review from Gramophone, his playing was described as, ‘containing all the warmth, colour and expressive richness one could hope for.’ Jamie has, throughout a varied career, explored various genres of music from a historical and stylistic perspective, combining diligent research with expressive performances to communicate the continuity of musical endeavour through the centuries.
Jamie was born in Scotland and began playing guitar at the age of 10. Initially playing rock and blues then attempting to play jazz and finally settling on the classical guitar, he was largely self-taught before having lessons with Robert Mackillop at Napier University, Edinburgh. Whilst at Napier he turned his attentions to playing the lute and pursued this as his principle study at the Royal College of Music, with Jakob Lindberg. Having added the theorbo to his expanding instrument collection, Jamie completed his studies at Trinity College of Music, studying with Jacob Heringman and David Miller, with additional lessons and advice from Paul O’Dette and Elizabeth Kenny. Settled on the period instrument path, Jamie continued accumulating instruments and exploring the music of the 16th to 19th centuries, with occasional forays into contemporary music.
Following a Junior Fellowship at Trinity College of Music Jamie began pursuing a varied professional career. As a soloist he has performed throughout Europe, the U.S.A, the Middle East and Australia, giving recitals at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Ullapool Guitar Festival, Classical Guitar Retreat, Exeter Guitar Festival, IARGUS festival in Iowa City, the Yorke Music Trust, the Italian Cultural Institute, in the L'Oratoire de Lourve, and the Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival, along with numerous family concerts for Bach to Baby, performances for the Scottish Prison Service and for various festivals, galleries and stately homes throughout the UK.
He has accompanied leading singers including Dame Emma Kirkby, Miriam Allan, Claire Wilkinson and Jake Arditti and is the staff accompanist for the John Kerr memorial song prize. Jamie has performed with many early music ensembles such as I Fagiolini, Ex Cathedra, Stile Antico, the Marian Consort, Fretwork, Chelys Viol Consort, The Rose Consort of Viols, The Parley of Instruments, Solomon's Knot, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Hanover Band, The Brook Street Band, Sounds Baroque and the Dunedin Consort.
As a continuo player Jamie has worked for major opera companies, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Glynebourne, Longborough Festival Opera and Innsbruck Festival Opera and orchestras and chamber groups including The Scottish, Irish and English Chamber Orchestras, Northern Sinfonia, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The Ulster Orchestra, The Essen Philharmonie, The Scottish Ensemble, with trumpeter Alison Balsom, and ventured into indie folk-rock with Damon Albarn.
Jamie has performed on numerous recordings; a few film soundtracks; several theatrical stages, including Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Barbican, and broadcast for the BBC, France Musique and RTE Lyric, Ireland, and has been an artist in residence with the renowned Scottish Ensemble.
Although concentrating on performing and teaching, Jamie has expanded his repertoire considerably through research, exploring the domestic music making of Samuel Pepys and his ‘musical secretary’ Cesare Morelli, the polyphony of Scottish Renaissance composer David Peebles; the use of Scottish melodies by European guitarist composers at the beginning of the 19th century and the works of neglected women guitarist composers of the 19th century. This research has resulted in several solo recordings including: Thesaurus Harmonicus, European lute music released in 2012 and available through this website, The Soldier's Return, romantic guitar music associated with Scotland available on Resonus Classics; Le Donne e la Chitarra: Music for guitar by 19th century women composers, released in November 2018 on the Drama Musica label, featuring premiere recordings of works by Emilia Giuliani, Catharina Pratten and Athénaïs Paulian and The Poor Branch: solo guitar music by Ukrainian born composer Ivan Klinger.
Jamie lectures in early plucked strings at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and teaches annually on the Renaissance Music Week course in Ejstrupholm, Denmark. He has also taught or given masterclasses at, The Royal College of Music, London; The Royal Northern College of Music, The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and The Rostov Conservatoire, Russia.