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James Ehnes

Born (1976-01-27) January 27, 1976 (age 48)
Brandon, Manitoba
Instruments Violin, Viola
Associated acts Ehnes Quartet

James Ehnes, CM OM FRSC (born January 27, 1976) is a Canadian concert violinist and violist.

Early life

Ehnes was born in Brandon, Manitoba, the son of Alan Ehnes, long time trumpet professor at Brandon University (Canada), and Barbara Withey Ehnes, former ballerina with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ruth Page's International Ballet, and Chicago Ballet, and former director of the Brandon School of Dance. Ehnes began his 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.

James Ehnes toured with Jeunesses MusicalesCanada during the 1992-1993 season, when he was only 16 years old.


Ehnes has performed with all of the major orchestras in North America including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the U.S., as well as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada.

In Europe he has performed as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, plus many others.

In October 2005, he was awarded a Doctor of Music degree (honoris causa) from Brandon University and in July 2007 he became the youngest person ever elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2010, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Ehnes performs on the 1715 "ex-Marsick" Stradivarius. His commercial recordings have won many awards and prizes, including 11 Junos, two Grammies, and two Gramophone Classical Music Awards - 2008 Best Concerto for Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto - 2021 Artist of the Year.

Ehnes was awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards in the Instrumentalist category. Ehnes joined Royal Academy of Music as visiting professor of violin in 2017.

Ehnes is Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society. He and violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Che-Yen Chen, and cellist Edward Arron perform as the Ehnes Quartet.

Ehnes lives in Ellenton, Florida with his wife and two children.


James Ehnes

Ehnes Quartet

  • 2016 Franz Schubert: String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810, Jean Sibelius: String Quartet
  • 2021 Beethoven: String Quartet No. 13 | Grosse Fuge
  • 2021 Beethoven: String Quartet No. 12 | String Quartet No. 14
  • 2021 Beethoven: String Quartet No. 10 | String Quartet No. 11
  • 2022 Beethoven: String Quartet No. 15 | String Quartet No. 16

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: James Ehnes para niños

  • List of Canadian musicians
  • List of contemporary classical violinists
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