James Barnett is an active pianist and conductor known for his work as an art song recitalist and chamber music pianist. As an ardent supporter of new and forgotten music, he has created a salon recital series in Minneapolis, Minnesota, focused on neglected works and composers. In addition to the recital series, Barnett has just launched Metamorphosis Opera Theater (MOT), a new company that pushes the conventions of opera through performances of lesser known works.
Barnett's career in opera started in the summer of 2007 at Des Moines Metro Opera where he served as a coach and rehearsal pianist in the James M. Collier Apprentice Program. Since then, he has been involved in numerous productions with the University of Minnesota Opera Theater, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Grand Valley State University as well as producing numerous operatic performances for such organizations as Heifer International and Feed My Starving Children. He also attended Songfest, a program devoted to the study of Art Song, where he worked with pianists Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, and Graham Johnson.
When not performing, he is an active teacher having been on staff at Grand Valley State University, Up North Vocal Institute, and Minnesota Operaʼs Opera Artist+ Summer Camp. Barnett is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in Piano Accompanying/ Vocal Coaching at the University of Minnesota. Major musical influences in his life include James and Karen Johnson, and Z. Randall Stroope.