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Grammy, Gramophone, and JUNO award-winning violinist JAMES EHNES is widely considered one of classical music’s biggest names. He has performed with such renowned conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Iván Fischer, Lorin Maazel, Paavo Järvi, Sir Charles Mackerras, David Robertson, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Christian Thielemann, Bramwell Tovey, and Bobby McFerrin, appearing with orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, the United States, and Canada. Recent engagements include appearances in Europe with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Orchestre de Lyon, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio Orchestra, in Asia with the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), the Malaysian Philharmonic, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and in North America with the major orchestras of New York, Cleveland, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Paul, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.
Recitals have taken Ehnes to major cities around the world, including London, Paris, Prague, Tokyo, Osaka, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. He has also appeared at major international festivals, including Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, the Marlboro Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the Tokyo Summer Music Festival, the Bermuda Festival, the Montreux Festival, and the Festival of the White Nights. As a chamber musician, he has performed in trio with cellist Jan Vogler and pianist Louis Lortie and has collaborated with such artists as Leif Ove Andsnes and Yo-Yo Ma.
Following a busy summer featuring appearances in Chicago, Toronto, Ottawa, and Seattle, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and his debut at the Salzburg Festival, the 2009/10 season takes Ehnes to Japan, the Netherlands, the U.S., Canada, and Germany. In Europe, he will be featured in concerts with the BBC Philharmonic, the Bournemouth Symphony, the London Philharmonia, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the Netherlands Philharmonic. In the U.S., he will be seen in concerts with the Baltimore, St. Louis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, and San Francisco symphony orchestras and will return to the San Diego Mostly Mozart Festival. In addition to his many concert appearances, Ehnes will appear in recital in Detroit, Toronto, Vancouver, Brandon, Montreal, and Glasgow. Future seasons see him return to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan in addition to many performances throughout Canada, the U.S., and in Europe.
An extremely prolific and multi-award-winning recording artist, with a Grammy, a Gramophone, and six JUNO awards, James Ehnes will add to his impressive discography of over 20 recordings with a re-recording of the Paganini Caprices (Onyx), due to be released in fall 2009. His first recorded the Paganini Caprices in 1995 for Telarc. His JUNO award-winning release of Homage, a CD/DVD set featuring performances on 12 of the greatest violins and violas ever made, all belonging to the extraordinary Fulton Collection, continues to garner exceptional reviews.
Other recent releases include Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis on the Onyx label and a disc of works by Paul Schoenfield with pianist Andrew Russo (Black Box). Ehnes’ CD featuring the violin concertos of Korngold, Walton, and Barber with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Bramwell Tovey conducting (CBC) was widely considered a highlight of 2006, and won 2008 Grammy and JUNO Awards.
In January 2006, he celebrated the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth with the release of a recording of Mozart’s complete oeuvre for solo violin and orchestra. It features an ensemble of extraordinary musicians that Ehnes gathered from around the world and directed himself (CBC Records) and has widely received top praise making it “a clear first choice in the field” (Classic FM).
James Ehnes has recorded repertoire ranging from Bach Violin Sonatas to John Adams’ Road Movies. In January 2002, he was named Young Artist of the Year at the Cannes Classical Awards for his recording of Six Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by Bach (Analekta), which was also awarded a JUNO award in 2001.
Ehnes was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at the age of four, and at age nine he became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music, then in 1993 at the Juilliard School. He graduated from Julliard in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. Ehnes first gained national recognition in 1987 as winner of the Grand Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Competition. The following year he won the First Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Festival, the youngest musician ever to do so. At age 13, he made his orchestral solo debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. He has won numerous awards and prizes, including the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award, the Canada Council for the Arts’ prestigious Virginia Parker Prize, and a 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant. In October 2005, James was honored by Brandon University with a Doctor of Music degree (honoris causa), and in July 2007 he became the youngest person ever elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada.
James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715 and gratefully acknowledges its extended loan from the Fulton Collection. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his wife, Kate.