James Scott-Power was born in Glasgow, Scotland to William and Adamina Power. He emigrated to Hobart, Tasmania in 1909. He was appointed Hobart City Organist soon after his arrival and remained in the post for 30 years until his death. In 1910 he also became Organist and Choirmaster of St David's Cathedral, Hobart.
As a boy, for seven years he was a chorister and solo boy at St Mary's Anglican Cathedral in Glasgow, gaining experience that later stood him in good stead. The foundations of Scott-Power's accomplished skill as an organist were laid in tuition received from Mr W.G. Martin, Organist of St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow. Appointed Assistant Organist at St Mary's, at Mr Martin's death he filled the latter's position for a time, and afterwards was appointed Organist and Choirmaster to another Anglican church in Glasgow.
While holding this position, he continued studying with Herbert Walton, a leading authority in organ playing and a distinguished recitalist. It was during his time with Herbert Walton that Scott-Power developed his deep love of the works of Bach, an enthusiasm that grew as his own powers of musical intuition and expression advanced. Herbert Walton also enheartened him in his profound study of the spirit and methods of other great composers, encouraging in him the universal musical taste that so richly expressed itself in the mature years of his later activity.
An entirely new chapter in Scott-Power's life opened when, for health reasons, he settled in Tasmania in his late 20s. Equipped with his musical talent, a courageous spirit, and a few letters of introduction, he soon established himself in the activities which, in his hands, contributed so largely to the distinction of Hobart's musical life.
On taking up his appointment as Organist of St David's Cathedral, Hobart, he made it his first care to see that the cathedral organ was rebuilt. Similar persuasion after years in which his powers of musicianship were inspiringly exercised, resulted in the reconstruction of the Hobart Town Hall Grand Organ in 1929. Scott-Power was also a sought-after teacher, and had many well-known Australian musicians as his pupils.
In his dual civic and cathedral capacity, Scott-Power gave himself with devotion to unfolding the beauties of great music. In both spheres, an outstanding exponent of Bach, he was never happier than in interpreting Bach's works. However, the full range of contemporary composers was also accorded its place in his hundreds of civic organ concerts which greatly contributed to Hobart's cultural life.
James Scott-Power died, aged 58, on 11 September 1939 and continued teaching until two days before his death. Greatly loved and respected, both the Hobart Philharmonic Society and Hobart Symphony Orchestra stood in silence as a mark of respect. He was survived by his wife Sarah Jane, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Evans, whom he had married in 1910, and three children: two daughters and one son, John.
From an Obituary in The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania; 12 September 1939.