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, Mr. Ehnes is a favorite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Dutoit, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Paavo Järvi, Maazel, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Mr. 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 London Symphony with Alsop, Vienna Symphony with Elder, New York Philharmonic with Mena, Orchestre National de France with Gardner, Philadelphia and Boston Symphony Orchestra with Denève, Frankfurt Radio Symphony with Orozco-Estrada, Danish and Washington National Symphony with Noseda, Pittsburgh Symphony with Vänskä, Royal Philharmonic with Dutoit, DSO Berlin and Sydney Symphony with Søndergård and Oslo Philharmonic with Petrenko.
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 Festival de Pâques in Aix. In 2009 he made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival performing the Paganini Caprices. Mr. 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. In May 2016, Mr. Ehnes will embark on a cross-Canada recital tour to celebrate his 40th birthday.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Ehnes has collaborated with leading artists such as Andsnes, Lortie, Vogler and Yo-Yo Ma. In 2010 he formally established the Ehnes Quartet, with whom he made his debut European tour in February 2014 and returns in autumn 2015 for performances at the Wigmore Hall, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris and Théâtre du Jeu de Paume in Aix, amongst others. Ehnes is the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Mr. 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’.” Mr. Ehnes’s recent recording of the Bartók Concerti was nominated for a 2012 Gramophone Award in the Concerto category. Recent releases include concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Khachaturian.
Mr. 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.