Violist James Dunham's rich background includes having been founding member of the Naumburg Award winning Sequoia String Quartet as well as having played for eight years in the Grammy Award winning Cleveland Quartet. In addition to his interest in Period Performance, he is an impassioned advocate of new music. Mr. Dunham has premiered and recorded several works written for him by American composer Libby Larsen and has collaborated on contemporary and standard repertoire with such renowned artists as Emmanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Cho-Liang Lin and 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. 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 directs its Master of Music in String Quartet program.