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Musical World

James Ehnes

  • Violinist


James Ehnes press reviews

A "terrific performance" with the Mostly Mozart Festival at New York's Avery Fisher Hall
Aug. 02, 2010 | Reviews

"Mr. Ehnes and Mr. Armstrong made an eloquent case for the sonata with their expressive interpretation, which highlighted its vulnerable and passionate moments."
Read More (New York Times, 2 August 2010)

"...Mr Barber laid out the lines with such elegance in the first two similar movements that it’s difficult for an accomplished fiddler to go wrong, and Mr. Ehnes played it with some soaring gorgeous lines. That last movement is pure presto technique. Here Mr. Ehnes showed that he is as technically assured as he is emotionally in tune with the music." (ConcertoNet, 31 July 2010)

James Ehnes Appointed to the Order of Canada
July 1, 2010 | News

James Ehnes has been named a Member of the Order of Canada. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada made the appointment in recognition not only of James’s contribution to musical life in Canada but on the international stage. Along with the other recipients, James will accept his insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields of human endeavour. Appointments are made on the recommendation of an Advisory Council, chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada. The Governor General is Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order. The Member of the Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of distinguished service in or to a particular community, group or field of activity.

James "Wows" Winnipeg as Soloist & Conductor
May 27, 2010 | Review

"[Ehnes] lit up the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra stage for its season finale Tuesday night, wowing the crowd with his dazzling virtuosity and an easy charm... The program opened with Beethoven's Romance No. 1, in G major, Op. 40 bathed in languorous romanticism...with Ehnes handling its more difficult double stops with aplomb while setting a leisurely tempo. His honey-sweet tone made this piece sing with his impossibly long bowing always firmly in control. Vivaldi's The Four Seasons gave the crowd a taste of Ehnes's renowned bravura. We know Ehnes can play like a demon, but what became even more fascinating was seeing him trade in his violin bow completely for baton during Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48. ...this concert marked the first time we have seen him lead the orchestra without fiddle in hand...what became fascinating was seeing him now use the orchestra as an extension of his own musicality. It's a testament to his skill and clarity of vision that the MCO players were responsive as his fabled $4.5 million Stradivarius (1715) violin." Read More
(Winnipeg Free Press, 27 May 2010)

James "makes it look easy" in Ottawa
May 22, 2010 | Review

"Canadian violinist James Ehnes is one of the world’s foremost practitioners of his instrument. He has even been compared to the legendary Jascha Heifitz and indeed there are similarities. Technical difficulties never seem to faze him and he has a commanding stage presence. Unlike Heifitz, though, Ehnes has a ready smile, a warm, animated stage manner and, to this listener’s ears at least, more musical warmth. Prokofiev’s Second is possibly the hardest concerto in the standard repertoire. It’s also possible Ehnes played it as well as it has ever been played. His rendition had everything from the heart-stopping beauty of the soaring melodies in the second movement to the most dazzling brilliance and colour, all the while expressing the touches of black humour that occur so frequently in the score."
(Ottawa Citizen, 22 May 2010)

"An exceptional pairing of piano, violin": James and Jamie Parker in Recital to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Jeunesses Musicales
May 20, 2010 | Review

"They opened their recital with a poised, lyrical account of Beethoven’s Romance in G, both players capturing effortlessly, as one mind, the simple strength of the composer’s design. Ehnes then went on alone to play J. S. Bach’s Partita in E, No. 3...Ehnes had it immaculately in hand. His skill is so secure, his ear so acute, that he is free to project the essence, the rare euphony of the music itself, without impediment or shortcoming. The duo finished with a work that exhibited and tested its true mettle as a natural team: Schumann’s late Sonata in A minor, Op. 105. Here again, Ehnes and Parker achieved an unshadowed, uncluttered accord. Their rhythms, and their inflections of those rhythms, were out of the same unerring instinct and a twinned impulse. The opening movement was an exciting interlocked flight, full of contrast, light and shade. The gentle second movement, confiding, questioning, was transparently candid and fine. The third movement, launched as a hotfoot perpetuum mobile, then dispersing in an arresting kaleidoscope of Schumannesque fantasy, put the players through a whole range of challenges to unanimity. But neither put a finger wrong. They seemed even to breathe together. What a pleasure. "
(Globe and Mail, 20 May 2010)