by Frederick D. Fairchild
(b. Peterborough, England Sept. 9, 1901; d. London May 19, 1999)
James Blades, renowned percussionist and scholar, and for many years Professor of Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music, received wide acclaim for his 1970 book Percussion Instruments and Their History. Always in demand as one of England's finest players, he played under the most prestigious conductors in the world. For years he collaborated with Benjamin Britten as percussion advisor, acting as his personal percussionist. His other books include Percussion Technique, Early Percussion Instruments (with Jeremy Montague), an autobiography, Drum Roll, and percussion articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica. Blades' talents are well documented in the We Make Music film series (an outgrowth of his popular lecture/performances) and in his recording Blades on Percussion. He was awarded the Hon.RAM (Royal Academy of Music), the Order of the British Empire, and Hon.M.Mus (University of Surrey).