Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in over 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors.
In the 2012-2013 season James performs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Australia and New Zealand. Season highlights include the Brahms Concerto with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, a tour to the far north of Canada with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, a solo violin recital at the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival, and return engagements with the Philharmonia, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and San Francisco, St. Louis, Toronto, Gothenburg and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras. An avid chamber musician, Ehnes will tour with his string quartet, the Ehnes Quartet, and lead the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the Artistic Director.
James Ehnes has an extensive discography of over 25 recordings featuring music ranging from J.S. Bach to John Adams. Recent projects include two CD’s of the music of Béla Bartók as well as a recording of Tchaikovsky’s complete works for violin. Upcoming releases include another Bartók disc as well as concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev. His recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a Grammy, a Gramophone, and 6 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. Mr. 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 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. In October 2005, James was honoured 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. On July 1st 2010 the Governor General of Canada appointed James a Member of the Order of Canada.
James Ehnes plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his wife and daughter.