Basil Vendryes, viola
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, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont and the Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy. Mr. 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 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 16th 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.
Projects for the 2016-17 season include recitals and classes in Colorado, California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont as well as chamber music appearances in Denver and throughout the United States.
Basil Vendryes has recorded for Columbia, Phillips, Decca, RCA and Nonesuch, as well as chamber music for the Ariel, Cadenza Music, Centaur, CRI and Naxos labels. Mr. Vendryes plays on a rare Italian viola made in 1887 by Carlo Cerruti.