Professor of Viola
BFA (1972) California Institute of the Arts
MFA (1974) California Institute of the Arts
Violist James Dunham is active as a recitalist, guest artist and teacher. He has collaborated with such renowned artists as Emmanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Lynn Harrell, Cho-Liang Lin and members of the American, Cassatt, Guarneri, Juilliard, Takács, Tokyo and Ying Quartets. An advocate of new music, he recently premiered and recorded two works by Libby Larsen: her Viola Sonata (2001) and “Sifting Through the Ruins” (2005) for viola, mezzo soprano (Susanne Mentzer) and piano, due for release by Naxos. Summers are spent at festivals including Sarasota, Amelia Island (FL), Aspen and le Domaine Forget (Quebec), with past participation in the La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, Festival der Zukunft (Ernen, Switzerland), the San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival and three summers at the Marlboro Music Festival.
This season features concerts and classes throughout the U.S. with a special appearance at the Lübeck Hochschule für Musik in Germany and the Smithsonian Institute performing quartets on a set of Nicolò Amati instruments. Highlights of recent seasons included a pair of concerts with the Takács Quartet in Carnegie Hall, concerts in Reykjavik, Iceland, returns to San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Vermont and regular engagements with Houston Friends of Music and Da Camera Society of Houston. Other recording projects have included Glyph by Judith Shatin for solo viola with String Quartet and Piano, the Bach Sonatas for Viola da Gamba with harpsichordist John Gibbons and the 2008 Grammy nominated Telarc recording of Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence with the Ying Quartet and ‘cellist Paul Katz. Violist of the 1996 Grammy Award winning Cleveland Quartet for eight years, he performed throughout North America, Europe, the Far East and the Soviet Union.
Founding violist of the Naumburg Award winning Sequoia String Quartet, Mr. Dunham formerly taught at California Institute of the Arts, the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory, where he also 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 directs the Master of Music in String Quartet program. His recordings can be found on labels including Telarc, Nonesuch, Delos, Naxos and Crystal. Mr. Dunham performs on a Gaspar da Salo viola, ca. 1585.