James has been involved with the Sydney Youth Orchestras since 2000 and is an SYO alumni.
James Pensini is one of the leading conductors of youth instrumental music in Australia and alongside his work at Sydney Youth Orchestras he is the Head Music Performance P-12 at Santa Sabina College, the home of the Sydney Youth Orchestras.
James studied trumpet and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and has performed and toured extensively with many orchestras and ensembles. Performance highlights include performing as Principal Trumpet with the Sydney Youth Orchestra for five years including a tour of Spain and Portugal; performing as Principal Trumpet with the Australian Youth Orchestra including a tour of France, Germany and the Netherlands with pianist Jean Yves Thibaudet; performing as a member of the Sydney Symphony Training Orchestra and performing as Lead Trumpet with the Australian Youth All-Star Big Band including a tour to the Monterey Jazz Festival.
As a conductor James has worked in and run many of the finest instrumental music programs for young people at a school and representative level in Australia and has been privileged to lead multiple international tours to the United States and Europe. James is a former National Board member of the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association and is regularly called upon as an adjudicator and guest conductor.
James is the founding conductor of the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra which he continues to conduct alongside the Symphonic Wind Orchestra for the Sydney Youth Orchestras. In 2017 James conducted the Sydney Youth Orchestra on a European Tour including workshops with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2020 James was appointed Head of Orchestral Training at the Sydney Youth Orchestras to assist with the development of all orchestras within the organisation.