Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in over 35 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 2016-2017 season James continues his Canadian recital tour in celebration of his 40th birthday, performs the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas in Stresa, Amsterdam, Liverpool and Montréal. In addition to appearances with orchestras across the globe, joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on a tour of China and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on a tour of Spain. James also holds artist residencies with the Melbourne Symphony, Liverpool Philharmonic, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and the Scotia Festival, and leads the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the Artistic Director.
New releases include a disc of works by Debussy, Respighi, Elgar with pianist 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, discs of works by Berlioz and Janácek, Khachaturian, Shostakovich, Britten, a double CD of the complete violin works by Prokofiev, four CDs of the music of Béla Bartók as well as a recording of Tchaikovsky’s complete oeuvre for violin. In the coming months, James will release a disc with the Ehnes Quartet of music by Schubert and Sibelius and a recording of Beethoven sonatas with Andrew Armstrong (both Onyx Classics). 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. 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. James has received honorary doctorates from Brandon University and the University of British Columbia 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.