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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Lamont School of Music

Newman Center for the Performing Arts


Basil Vendryes

Basil Vendryes

Adjunct Faculty, Viola

Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Room 329
[email protected]

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 Quartet Program at SUNY Fredonia, New York and the Green Valley Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Vendryes has served on the faculties of Biola University (CA), California Summer Music at Pebble Beach, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Montecito International Music Festival. 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 14th  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. In 2010 he formed Duo Esprit (with harpist AnnMarie Liss), an ensemble that has garnered much interest and has led to a number of commissions and performances. The 2014 schedule includes solo recitals in New York and Denver, chamber music appearances with the Veronika Quartet and recording David Maslanka’s Trio for Viola, Clarinet and Piano with members of the Lamont faculty.   

Basil Vendryes has recorded for Columbia, Phillips, Decca, RCA and Nonesuch, as well as chamber music for the Ariel Music, Cadenza Music, Centaur, CRI and Naxos labels. Mr. Vendryes plays on a rare Italian viola made in 1887 by Carlo Cerruti.