James Ehnes was born in Brandon, Manitoba. He is the son of Alan Ehnes, who was a famous trumpet professor at Brandon University and Barbara Withey Ehnes. Ehnes is a favourite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis.
James started playing violin at the small age of four and by age nine became a protege of the famous Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. From 1993 to 1997 he studied at The Julliard School where he won the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music following his graduation.
Ehnes has performed in over 30 countries on five continents, appearing in the world’s greatest halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and praised as “the Jascha Heifetz of our day”. His recordings have won many awards and prizes summing up to 33, winning Junos, a Grammy and a Gramophone award.
Ehnes is also the artistic director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society and mostly tours with his String Quartet, also known as the Ehnes Quartet.
James had a hectic schedule alongside his concerto work, he has appeared festivals such as City of London, Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, the White Nights in St Petersburg, Festival de Pâques in Aix, and in 2009 he made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival performing the Paganini Caprices.
Ehnes is celebrated internationally as a master of the instrument and has had described as “a wizard of the violin”. His recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto recorded live with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and Ashkenazy received extraordinary 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.”
In October 2005, he was awarded the Doctor of Music degree from Brandon University. In 2007, he became the youngest person ever elected to the Royal Society of Canada. His recent projects include Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto paired with Shostakovich’s String Quartets Nos. 7&8, an American Chamber Music disc.
James Ehnes has always been known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, and his charisma surely enthralls his listeners thereby impacting million lives. The sooth of melodies perfectly synchronized promises a joyous ride to the tunes of forever peace.