"One of the most gifted and sincerely expressive artists to have emerged in recent times." (The Daily Telegraph, London)
James Ehnes has rapidly established a pre-eminent reputation among concert violinists. He has performed with such renowned conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Ivan Fischer, Michael Gielen, Hans Graf, Richard Hickox, Paavo Järvi, Zdenek Macal, David Robertson, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Yoav Talmi, Christian Thielemann, Bramwell Tovey, and Bobby McFerrin, appearing with orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, the United States, and Canada. Recent engagements include appearances in Europe with the Philharmonia, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra, the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra (Berlin), The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Orchestre de Lyon, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio Orchestra, in Asia with the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo) and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and in North America with the major orchestras of New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Paul, Houston, Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.
Recitals have taken Mr. Ehnes to major cities around the world including London, Paris, Prague, Washington D.C., Tokyo, Osaka, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. He has also appeared at major international festivals including Chicago's Ravinia Festival, the Marlboro Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the Tokyo Summer Music Festival, the Bermuda Festival, the Montreux Festival, the Festival de la Chaise-Dieu, the Festival Côte St. André, the Moritzburg Festival, and the Festival of the White Nights. As a chamber musician, he often performs in trio with cellist Jan Vogler and pianist Louis Lortie and has collaborated with such artists as Leif Ove Andsnes and Yo-Yo Ma.
After a summer highlighted by performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony, and the Philharmonia, as well as recital and chamber engagements in Europe, Japan, and the U.S., James Ehnes embarks on a busy 2003-2004 season. He makes debut appearances in San Francisco, Dallas, Fort Worth, Miami, Catania, and Kuala Lumpur, tours with the Liege Philharmonic and Les Violons du Roy, and returns to the Alabama, Nashville, and Montreal Symphonies, as well as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra. As a recitalist, James Ehnes will perform in Spain, Switzerland, Italy and the United States, in addition to an all-Beethoven recital with Louie Lortie in Toronto and an all-Bach recital in Montreal.Trio appearances with Louis Lortie and Jan Vogler include performances in New York and Moritzburg, Germany, as well as a cycle of the complete Beethoven trios in Rotterdam.
James Ehnes' highly active 2002-2003 season opened with his return to the BBC Proms in Brahms' Violin Concerto with Richard Hickox and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Autumn found Mr. Ehnes performing with the New Jersey and Montréal Symphony Orchestras, in Coloraine and Belfast with the Ulster Orchestra, in recital in Rouen and Le Havre, France, Birmingham, England, Bergamo, Italy, and at the 30th Festival International Cervantino in Mexico, on tour with l'Orchestre National de Lille, and in Lisbon for performances with the Gulbenkian Orchestra. His new year began with a recital in Montréal and a performance in Manchester, U.K. of Prokofiev's Concerto No. 1 to launch the BBC Philharmonic's Prokofiev festival, followed by appearances with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra at the Bermuda Festival, and recitals in Bermuda and Cremona, Italy. In the spring, Mr. Ehnes toured Canada with l'Orchestre symphonique de Québec, appeared with the Edmonton Symphony and the Florida Orchestra, and travelled to Japan for a performance with the Osaka Century Orchestra and a recital in Tokyo's Kioi Hall.
A prolific recording artist, James Ehnes's recently released Bruch's Concerto for violin No. 2 and Scottish Fantasy with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Mario Bernardi (CBC Records) received the 2003 JUNO AWARD for Best Classical album. The recording is a companion CD to Mr. Ehnes' critically acclaimed Bruch Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 with l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Charles Dutoit (CBC Records) which won the same award in 2002 as well as the 2002 Canadian Independent Music Award.
In January 2002, he was named Young Artist of the Year at the Cannes Classical Awards for his Six Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin by Bach (Analekta), which was also awarded a JUNO AWARD for Best Classical Album in 2001. The recording has garnered such praise as "Ehnes makes a simply glorious sound" (Strad Magazine), and "his sound is lustrous, his intonation flawless, his stamina untiring….these are noble readings of a high seriousness - controlled, poised, totally untrammelled" (BBC Music Magazine, Sept. 2001)
Mr. Ehnes's 2002 recording James Ehnes…Fritz Kreisler, with pianist Eduard Laurel (Analekta) and his 2001 release French Showpieces (Analekta) with l'Orchestre symphonique de Québec under the direction of Yoav Talmi both received JUNO nominations and earned enthusiastic accolades: of Fritz Kreisler, "Canadian violinist James Ehnes is a marvel. You won't find a better Kreisler recital this side of, well, Kreisler" (ClassicsToday); of French Showpieces, "James Ehnes has rightly taken his place among the world's major virtuoso violinists, as this release proves" (American Record Guide, May/June 2002). Also released to critical acclaim were Prokofiev's Two Sonatas and Five Melodies with pianist Wendy Chen (Analekta), Ravel, Debussy and Saint-Saëns, also with Wendy Chen (CBC Records), and Paganini's 24 Caprices (Telarc). Upcoming recordings include a disk of Sarasate and Wieniawski with pianist Eduard Laurel (CBC), Dvorak, Smetena and Janacek, also with Eduard Laurel (Analekta), Dohnanyi's 2nd Violin Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic and Matthias Bamert (Chandos), and Schumann and Faure Quintets with Louis Lortie, Jan Vogler, Mira Wang, and Naoko Shimizu (Sony).
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. For several summers he studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music, continuing his studies with her in 1993 at The Juilliard School. He graduated from Julliard in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. 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 orchestral solo debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. James Ehnes has won numerous awards and prizes, including the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award and the Canada Council for the Arts prestigious Virginia Parker Prize.
James Ehnes plays the "Ex Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715 and gratefully acknowledges its extended loan from the Fulton Collection.