“No collection of virtuoso showpieces demands greater technical prowess than Paganini’s 24 Caprices. Yet James Ehnes, whose artistry suggests that in Paganini’s age he would have enjoyed similar stature to the great man, succeeds impressively in being more than merely thrilling…this is not simply a high-wire act. It’s playing of phenomenal control, allied to musicianship of the highest order.” – The Times (London), October 2009
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the foremost violinists of his generation. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Dutoit, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Ehnes’s long list of orchestras includes, amongst others, the Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New York, London Symphony, Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, DSO Berlin and the NHK Symphony orchestras.
Recent and future orchestral highlights include the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall with Noseda, London Symphony with Alsop, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with Shelley, Vienna Symphony with Elder, New York Philharmonic with Mena, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with Slatkin, Chicago Symphony with Gaffigan, Orchestre National de France with Gardner, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Boston Symphony Orchestras with Denève, Frankfurt Radio Symphony with Orozco-Estrada, Pittsburgh Symphony with Honeck, Minnesota Orchestra with Vänskä, Sydney Symphony with Søndergård, Hong Kong Philharmonic with van Zweden and Oslo Philharmonic with Petrenko. In 2017, Ehnes premiered the Aaron-Jay Kernis Violin Concerto with the Toronto, Seattle and Dallas Symphony Orchestras; future performances of the piece include with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Ehnes was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category. Alongside his concerto work, James Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center Chicago, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, Festival de Pâques in Aix, and in 2009 he made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival performing the Paganini Caprices. In 2016, Ehnes undertook a cross-Canada recital tour, performing in each of the country’s provinces and territories, to celebrate his 40th birthday. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with leading artists such as Andsnes, Lortie, Vogler and Yo-Yo Ma. In summer 2017, Ehnes makes his debut at the Verbier Festival performing with artists including Antonio Pappano, Yuja Wang, Nikolaï Lugansky, Antoine Tamestit and Mischa Maisky. In 2010, he formally established the Ehnes Quartet, with whom he has performed in Europe at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris and Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in Aix, amongst others.
Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings including a Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recording of the Korngold, Barber and Walton violin concertos won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’ and a JUNO award for ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’. His recording of the Paganini Caprices earned him universal praise, with Diapason writing of the disc, “Ehnes confirms the predictions of Erick Friedman, eminent student of Heifetz: ‘there is only one like him born every hundred years’.” Ehnes’s recent recording of the Bartók Concerti was nominated for a Gramophone Award in the Concerto category. Recent releases include concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Khachaturian and sonatas by Debussy, Elgar and Respighi, and his recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Manze will be released in October 2017 (Onyx Classics).
Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin aged nine, made his orchestral debut with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal aged 13 and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.
James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his family.