Basil Vendryes playing the violin

Basil Vendryes

Adjunct Faculty, Viola

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What I do

Adjunct Faculty, Viola



Professional Biography

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), 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, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont. Vendryes has served on the faculties of Biola University (CA), California Summer Music at Pebble Beach, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Green Valley Music Festival, Montecito International Music Festival, Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy and the Music and More Summerfest in Trebinje, Herzegovina. For 18 years, he was the founder/director of the Colorado Young Sinfonia, comprised of some of the best young talent in the Denver area.

Vendryes was born in 1961 to West Indian parents, and began his musical training in the public schools at the age of 11. 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, Sunflower, Midsummer Mozart, Ouray, Lake Winnepesaukee, Las Vegas, Taconic and the Grand Tetons. Working with promising talent is one of his passions, and Vendryes has given classes in viola and chamber music throughout the United States. Vendryes has been a juror for several competitions, including the Sphinx Competition for African American and Latino string players and the Hong Kong International Music Festival. He has also served as guest principal violist for the the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

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