James Ehnes began his studies at age four and became a protégé of Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He made his orchestral debut with the Montreal Symphony at age thirteen and graduated from the Juilliard School in 1997. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 2003.
Recent and future orchestral highlights include performances with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Gothenburg Symphony, and his debut with the London Philharmonic at Lincoln Center in spring 2019. He was in residence with the Minnesota Orchestra throughout the 2017-18 season. In 2017, Mr. Ehnes gave the premiere performances of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Violin Concerto with the Toronto, Seattle, and Dallas symphonies, with further performances of the piece with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Melbourne Symphony. His live recording of the work with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot won a 2019 Grammy award. He has also been awarded the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Instrumentalist category.
Alongside his concerto work, Mr. Ehnes maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center in Chicago, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and at festivals including Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, the White Nights Festival in Saint Petersburg, Verbier, and Festival de Pâques in Aix. In 2016, he undertook a cross-Canada recital tour, performing in each of the country’s provinces and territories, to celebrate his 40th birthday. In 2010, he established the Ehnes Quartet, with whom he has performed in Europe’s leading venues. He is also the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
Mr. Ehnes’s discography includes a Gramophone Award-winning live recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Andrew Davis, and a recording of the Korngold, Barber, and Walton violin concertos with the Vancouver Symphony and Bramwell Tovey, which won a Grammy award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance and a JUNO Award for Best Classical Album of the Year. His recent recording of the Bartók Violin Concerto was nominated for a Gramophone Award in the concerto category. Other recent releases include sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar, and Respighi, and concertos by Britten, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev, as well as the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Andrew Manze, which was released in October 2017 (Onyx Classics).
James Ehnes is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. He plays the 1715 “Marsick” Stradivarius violin.