Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, Canadian violinist James Ehnes has performed in 37 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors. In addition to his solo work, he is also the first violinist of the Ehnes Quartet.
James has just completed the first segment of his James Ehnes@40 national birthday recital tour which takes him to every province and territory in Canada. This summer James travels to Australia for an extended residency with the Melbourne Symphony, performs in recitals in Mexico and Italy, and joins the Ehnes Quartet for their first-ever complete Beethoven cycle in Seoul, South Korea.
James has an extensive discography of over 40 recordings featuring music ranging from J.S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi to John Adams and Aaron Jay Kernis. New releases include a disc of works by Debussy, Respighi, Elgar with frequent piano collaborator Andrew Armstrong and a CD of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
paired with Tartini’s Devil’s Trill
and Leclair’s Tambourin Sonata
. Recent projects include a CD of Franck and Strauss Sonatas, a recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Two Movements (with Bells)
written for James, and discs of works by Berlioz and Janácek. His recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a Grammy, a Gramophone, and 11 JUNO Awards.
James Ehnes was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at the age of four, and at age nine became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and from 1993 to 1997 at The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation. At age 13, he made his major 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’ Virginia Parker Prize, and a 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant. James has been honoured by Brandon University with a Doctor of Music degree (honoris causa
) and in 2007 he became the youngest person ever elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada. In 2010 the Governor General of Canada appointed James a Member of the Order of Canada, and in 2013 he was named an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, limited to a select group of 300 living distinguished musicians.
James Ehnes plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his family.