James Stern is a multi-faceted musician whose violin playing has been heard worldwide and cited by the Washington Post for “virtuosity and penetrating intelligence.” He has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Banff and Bowdoin festivals as well as at New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall. Well-known to Washington, DC audiences, he has performed as a member of VERGE ensemble, the 21st Century Consort, the Smithsonian Chamber Players and the Axelrod Quartet, at such venues as the Corcoran Gallery, the German and French Embassies, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery, the Phillips Collection, Strathmore Mansion, and the White House. In frequent appearances at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland he has brought innovative programming that includes performing in multiple capacities (as violist, pianist, conductor, reciter, and arranger), and providing program annotations that are integral to the performance. Stern’s recordings can be heard on Centaur, CRI, New Focus, New World, and Sono Luminus. 2015 saw the release of his complete Sonatas and Partitas by Bach on Albany Records.
Stern has served on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute and is now Professor at the University of Maryland School of Music. He has taught masterclasses throughout North America and in China, Norway and Italy, and has published numerous articles on violin pedagogy for such journals as American String Teacher. Recent summer festival activities have included the National Orchestral Institute (conducting and coaching unconducted chamber orchestras), California Summer Music, Master Players Festival, the Starling/Delay Symposium at Juilliard, the Bennington Chamber Music Conference, the Siletz Bay festival, and the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program.
Stern is a member of two critically acclaimed ensembles, the Stern/Andrist Duo with his wife, pianist Audrey Andrist, and Strata, a trio in which they are joined by clarinetist Nathan Williams. The duo has performed throughout the United States, Canada and China, with additional recitals in Munich and Paris. The trio has received enthusiastic repeat engagements at San Francisco Composers Inc (for which they were listed as one of San Francisco Classical Voice’s “highlights of 2005”), the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and New York’s historic Maverick Concerts. Strata has recently commissioned new works from Kenneth Frazelle and the late Stephen Paulus, giving the world premieres at, respectively, the Secrest Artist Series in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and New York’s Merkin Concert Hall.