Violist James Dunhams’s rich background includes having been founding member of the Naumburg Award winning Sequoia String Quartet and subsequently violist of the Grammy Award winning Cleveland Quartet. An impassioned advocate of new music, he has premiered and recorded many works written for him, and his recording of Judith Shatin’s “Glyph” for solo viola and piano quintet was recently released. Fanfare Magazine (July/August 2014) praised the work as “reverent…beautifully, skillfully written” and “the playing here by soloist James Dunham is stunning: resonant and vital.” Mr. Dunham recently joined the members of the Diotima String Quartet of France for the premiere of a viola quintet by composer Richard Lavenda. In addition to guest appearances, Mr. Dunham is violist of the Axelrod String Quartet, in residence at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. where the ensemble performs on their collection of Nicolò Amati and Stradivari instruments. Formerly on the faculty of California Institute of the Arts, the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory (where he chaired the string department and received the Louis & Adrienne Krasner Teaching Excellence Award) Mr. Dunham is Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music where he also co-directs its Master of Music in String Quartet program. He is featured regularly in concerts, master classes and competition juries throughout the U.S. and abroad, recently as guest at the Lübeck Hochschule für Musik in Germany, the Manhattan School of Music, return participation in the Festival International Turina in Seville, Spain and in mini-residency at the University of Ottawa through their Astral Young Artists Mentorship Program. Highlights of his 2013/2014 season included string quartet performances in Seoul, Korea and a return to Japan as jury member of the 8th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. The 2014/2015 season will see him performing quintets throughout the U.S. with the Jupiter String Quartet. Mr. Dunham has collaborated on contemporary and standard repertoire with such renowned artists as Emmanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Cho-Liang Lin and members of the American, Brentano, Guarneri, Juilliard, Takács, Tokyo and Ying Quartets. His recording with the Ying Quartet and cellist Paul Katz of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence was nominated for a 2008 Grammy.
Summer activities include yearly participation in the Aspen, Sarasota and Amelia Island (FL) Music Festivals as well as frequent appearances at the Texas Music Festival, le Domaine Forget (Quebec), Garth Newel Center, Heifetz International Music Institute and La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest.
His recordings can be found on labels including Telarc, Innova, Nonesuch, Delos, Naxo, Crystal, and Navona Records. Dunham performs on a Gaspar da Salo viola, ca. 1585.
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