James VanValkenburg, Viola
Currently Assistant Principal Violist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, James VanValkenburg came to orchestral playing after a satisfying career in chamber music. As a founding member of the International String Quartet, he toured the world with concerts in Europe, the Far East, South America, as well as the U.S. Them quartet won several notable prizes, including the Munich Competition, East & West Artists of New York, and was the first winner of the Premier Grand Prix at the International Chamber Music Competition of Evian, France.
Since joining the DSO in 1986 he has participated in several summer festivals including Lockenhaus, Newport, Strings in the Mountains as well as the American String Project in Seattle in 2011.
A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and Indiana University School of Music, he has enjoyed chamber music collaborations with many of his favorite musicians, among them Menahem Pressler, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, David Shifrin, and Isaac Stern. Recent recordings include a violin, viola duet of William Bolcom, Piano Quartets of Franz Waxman and the Stravinsky Septet, on Koch, and the Beethoven Septet on Philips.
He is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician, becoming the first violist to be a permanent member of Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings in 2004, and appearing as soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra again in 2005. He performs on a rare viola by Antonio Ungarini of Fabriano, Italy, made in 1740.
Jim is married and enjoys family time with his two boys, as well as an active outdoor lifestyle. He spends much of his free time training for Ironman Triathlons and has started and completed five, including Ironman Hawaii in 2004.
James VanValkenburg is generously sponsored by Cecilia Benner for the 2014-2015 season.