The Madison Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to welcome James Ehnes back to Overture Hall for our October 14, 15, & 16 concerts, Sublime Violin & Journeys. This will be his fourth performance with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, previously performing in 2012, 2015, and most recently in February of 2019 in Pictures at an Exhibition. Read the reviews from James Ehnes’s 2019 appearances in Madison to discover why the MSO continues to invite her back to Overture Hall time and time again  — plus, learn more and buy tickets for Sublime Violin & Journeys, Oct. 14-16!

John Barker / The Isthmus: “Wondrous Works: Madison Symphony Orchestra welcomes Grammy winner James Ehnes for a concert to remember”

“A work of symphonic stature, it involves a kind of stylistic split personality. The first movement juxtaposes two elements: one of bold virtuosity, the other of sweet sensitivity. This proves to be perfectly suited for Ehnes. He is fully up to the showy challenges of this demanding work, but he also takes every opportunity to convey a gentle delicacy where possible, using a soft expressive tone, with great flexibility of tempo and volume. The great cadenza becomes a kind of debate between these two elements.

“The two remaining movements serve as showcases for each element. The slow movement features the expressive sensitivity in which Ehnes is so adept. Then the finale cuts loose with boisterous display, seasoned with sensitive moments where possible. It is a truly wondrous performance.”

Read the review on the Isthmus’s website


Bill Wineke / Channel 3000: “Wineke: Violinist excites midwinter concert audiences”

“I suppose we expect most guest soloists at Madison Symphony Orchestra concerts to give “virtuoso” performances. That, after all, is why the orchestra invites them and why it pays them. But violinist James Ehnes went a little above and beyond even those expectations at the weekend MSO concerts.”

“Johannes Brahms’ “Concerto for Violin and orchestra in D Major” has three movements and at least some of the concert goers Friday night were on their feet following each of the movements.”

Read the review on Channel 3000’s website


Matt Ambrosio / Cap Times: “Concert review: Madison Symphony’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ delights and astounds”

“Few concerts have left me with as big a smile on my face as the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Friday night performance, “Pictures at an Exhibition.””

“For the second piece on the program, Brahms’s Violin Concerto, the MSO welcomed back recent Grammy Award winning violinist James Ehnes. DeMain said after the first time he heard Ehnes play, he wanted him to return as often as possible.”

“The audience was so blown away by Ehnes’s mesmerizing solo that they were unable to refrain from applauding between movements.

“Ehnes’s encore, Eugène Ysäye’s Violin Sonata No. 3, was perhaps the highlight of the concert. It is a ferociously difficult piece, and Ehnes performed it with poise and elegance. It begins with a single melodic line that unfolds into double and triple stop figures that display the player’s gymnastic abilities — a captivating sight.”

Read the review on the Cap Times’s website


What Concert Attendees Had to Say…


“I enjoyed the exquisite musicality of James Ehnes. And I particularly loved the perfect ensemble between solo and orchestra in the 3rd movement.​”

“I was awestruck by James Ehnes’ ability! The encore left me breathless.”

“The soloist, James Ehnes, was superb. His encore, Yseye’s third sonata, was even more impressive.”

“The entire concert was wonderful. Mr. Ehnes’ performance was outstanding.”

“James Ehnes was, as always, amazing. I will always jump at an opportunity to hear him.”

“The interplay between Mr. DeMain, the MSO, and Mr. Ehnes were were truly an aural and visual delight. As if this were not enough, Mr. Ehnes’ encore was nothing short of stunning. My seat mates and I spontaneously and collectively gasped at the end, uttered “Wow!”, and shot out of our seats to applaud.”

“Mr. Ehnes’s performance was outstanding, both in the Concerto and the Ysaÿe encore. I had not heard him perform before, and now I want to hear more. Please bring him back to Madison!”

“All of the selections were performed at a very high standard, but the performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto was extraordinary. That performance will remain in my memory for a very long time.”

“James Ehnes’s performance of the Brahms and his encore were exquisite.”


Photos from James Ehnes’s 2019 Performances at Overture Hall and Master Class for WYSO