Born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, 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, Dutoit, Ivan Fischer, Paavo Järvi, Maazel, 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.
Highlights of the 2011-12 season include return engagements with the Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, Swedish Chamber and Residentie orchestras, and debuts with the Oslo Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, Tonkunstler, Hamburg Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic orchestras. North American highlights this season include performances with the Philadelphia, Minnesota, Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, St Louis Symphony, Montreal Symphony and Toronto Symphony orchestras. Other forthcoming concerto appearances include the NDR Hannover, SWR Stuttgart, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Rotterdam Philharmonic orchestras.
Alongside his concerto work, James Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He has appeared at festivals such as City of London, Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, the White Nights in St Petersburg and in 2009 he made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival performing the Paganini Caprices. Ehnes is a regular guest at the Wigmore Hall in London and at the 2007 BBC Proms he premiered a new work for violin and piano by Aaron Jay Kernis. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with leading artists such as Andsnes, Lortie, Vogler and Yo-Yo Ma. Ehnes is the Associate Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings including a 2008 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 2008 Grammy Award for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’ and a 2008 JUNO award for ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’. His 2010 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’.” His recent recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, recorded live with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, coupled with the Mendelssohn Octet where Ehnes is joined by members of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, received outstanding reviews. The Daily Telegraph wrote of the disc, “Ehnes’s gorgeous, supple tone is combined with that instinct for a composer’s distinctive character that makes his interpretations so compelling. The finely spun lyrical lines of the central slow movement are played with unaffected but subtle beauty.”
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.
James Ehnes plays the “Ex Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715 and gratefully acknowledges its extended loan from the Fulton Collection.
Forthcoming concerts with James Ehnes:
Jun 09 2013, 19:30 - Royal Festival Hall
Paavo Järvi conducts Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World, and is joined by pianist Paul Lewis for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23
Jun 13 2013, 19:30 - Royal Festival Hall
Ashkenazy conducts James Ehnes in Elgar’s Violin Concerto along with Walton's Symphony No. 1