McKinley James is a cellist studying at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University with Brian Manker. She has played with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, Middlebury College Orchestra, Boston Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, McGill Symphony Orchestra, and the New England Conservatory Symphony, and soloed with the Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra.
She is a founding member of the band Night Tree. The group, all students at NEC, were named the Conservatory’s WildCard Honors Ensemble for 2016-2017. Awards for this title included a sponsorship from NEC, a headlining performance at the historic Jordan Hall, and a year of working with Winifred Horan, fiddler and co-founder of Irish super-band, SOLAS. As acoustic sextet Night Tree, Brian O’Donovan, Senior DJ at Boston’s own radio station, WGBH, calls them “One of the most exciting roots-based music groups to emerge from the New England Conservatory in many years.
Their individual chops and adventurous approach make Night Tree a band to watch for.” Together they have toured throughout the US, opened for Solas in Portsmouth Music Hall, and played in Jordan Hall, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Public Library, and Rockwood Music Hall. They released their debut album in 2017 and toured in Europe in 2018. She has also toured in China with her piano trio. She studied with Yeesun Kim at the New
England Conservatory for her Bachelor’s Degree.