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Basil Vendryes has been Principal Violist of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra since 1993. He is a former member of the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Rochester Philharmonic orchestras. As violist with the Aurora String Quartet (1986-95) Mr. Vendryes performed extensively, including recitals in New York, London and Tokyo. He currently serves on the faculties of the Lamont School of Music of the University of Denver, the Castleman Quartet Programs in Fredonia, New York and Boulder, CO, the Montecito Music Festival in California and the Green Valley Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Vendryes has served on the faculties of Biola University (CA), California Summer Music, and the Summer Music West at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is also the founder/director of the Colorado Young Sinfonia, comprised of some of the best young talent in the Denver area, and now in its 11th year.
Basil Vendryes was born in 1961 to West Indian parents, and began his musical training in the public schools at the age of eleven. He received scholarships to the Manhattan School of Music and the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Sally O’Reilly, Francis Tursi and Heidi Castleman. He has appeared as soloist with the Colorado, Aurora, Jefferson, Littleton, Lamont, Centennial, and Biola Symphonies, among others. Festival appearances include Spoleto, Heidelberg, Midsummer Mozart, Ouray, Lake Winnepesaukee, Las Vegas and the Grand Tetons. Working with promising talent is one of his passions, and Basil has given classes in viola and chamber music throughout the United States. Mr. Vendryes was a juror for the 2000 Sphinx Competition for African American and Latino string players.
In April of 2008 Mr. Vendryes performed the American premiere of Giya Kancheli’s Styx with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Jeffrey Kahane) to critical acclaim. The Kancheli was subsequently repeated at the 2008 League of American Orchestras National Conference. The 2009-10 season included guest conducting the Santa Barbara Strings (California), the Strings Music Festival, teaching at the Montecito Music Festival and Quartet Program and a tour of Japan as guest principal violist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 2010-11 was the inaugural season of Duo Esprit (with harpist AnnMarie Liss), an ensemble that has garnered much interest and has led to a number of commissions and performances.
Basil Vendryes has recorded for Columbia, Phillips, Decca, RCA and Nonesuch, as well as chamber music for the Cadenza Music, Centaur, CRI, Denon and Naxos labels. Mr. Vendryes plays on a rare Italian viola made in 1887 by Carlo Cerruti.