Manson started playing the double bass at age 14, to add to
the many other instruments which he enjoyed taking home on
the bus to try to impress his peers. Eventually, the most
impressive-looking instrument won through, and he went on to
study at the Royal Northern College of Music with Duncan McTier, where he won the Eugine Cruft double bass prize.
He has been principal bass in the Northern Chamber
Orchestra since 1989 and works with all the major North West
orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic and the Hallé. He is
also a regular guest principal with the Northern Sinfonia.
In addition to the many recordings he has made with the
NCO, he has also made two recordings with David Routledge
with whom he plays in the tango ensemble, Trio Zambra.
James also enjoys working as a composer and arranger and
his work includes several musicals for schools, orchestral
arrangements for recordings made by the group Wellspring,
jingles and music for BBC radio. He has worked on several
West End shows, such as Phantom of the Opera, Oliver and
Singing in the Rain. If required, James can be persuaded to
sing and perform on his balalaika or Peruvian charango.