• Basil Vendryes viola

    Basil Vendryes, viola

    Basil Vendryes is the Principal Violist of the Colorado Symphony, and is a former member of the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and Rochester Philharmonic orchestras. He currently serves on the faculty of the Lamont School of Music of the University of Denver. As a member of the Aurora String Quartet (1986-95) Mr. Vendryes performed recitals in New York, London and Tokyo as well as west coast premieres of works by John Harbison, George Perle, Richard Danielpour, Benjamin Lees and many others. From 2000-2018 Basil directed the Colorado Young Sinfonia (which he also founded), comprised of some of the best young talent in the Denver area.

    Basil Vendryes was born in 1961 to West Indian parents, and began his musical training in the public schools of New York City 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. Basil joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1982 at the age of 21 and the New York Philharmonic two years later. Basil joined the Colorado Symphony as Principal Viola in 1993. He has also served as guest principal violist for the the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

    Mr. Vendryes has appeared in many festivals, including Spoleto, Heidelberg, Sunflower, Midsummer Mozart, Interharmony, Green Mountain, Taconic and the Grand Tetons. Working with promising talent is one of his passions, and Basil has given classes in viola and chamber music in Europe and throughout the United States. Mr. Vendryes has served as a juror for the Sphinx Competition for African American and Latino string players and the Hong Kong International Music Festival. 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.

    Basil Vendryes has recorded for the Albany, Ariel, Cadenza Music, Centaur, CRI, Naxos and Toccata labels in addition to his contributions as an orchestral violist for RCA, Decca, Nonesuch, Telarc, Columbia, BIS and Hyperion. Mr. Vendryes plays on a rare Italian viola made in 1887 by Carlo Cerruti.