Violinist James Buswell has died aged 74

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Born in Indiana, James buswell started playing the violin at the age of 5. His main violin teachers included Mary Canberg, Paul Stassevich and Ivan Galamian, with whom he studied at The Juilliard school. He also graduated in 1970 from Harvard University with a degree in Renaissance art.

Buswell started playing the Violin Stradivarius “Lévèque” 1720 in his twenties, which he would play for the rest of his career.

As a soloist, he has collaborated with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, George Szell, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Andre Previn, Pierre Boulez and Michael Tilson Thomas.

He performed at one of the Alice Tully Hall opening gala concerts in New York with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society – in which he became a regular artist member for over a decade.

As a recording artist he was nominated for a Grammy in 2002 for his recording of Barber’s Violin Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has given world premieres and recorded works by contemporary composers including Ned Rorem, Yehudi Wyner, Gunther Schuller, John Harbison, Gian Carlo Menotti and Ellen Taafe Zwilich.

Buswell also served as a dedicated educator. It was part of the faculties of University of Arizona, Indiana University, and New England Conservatory. He taught in Boston for over 25 years, and in Bloomington founded and conducted the School of Music Chamber Orchestra.

In 2018, Mr. Buswell and his wife, cellist Carol Ou, joined the faculty of New York Universityfrom the Steinhardt school.

He has also taught at the Cremona International Music Academy and Festival and, during the pandemic, has given classes and masterclasses at the virtual learning center Virtuosity.online.

“Jamie was a man of tremendous intelligence and eloquence”, pianist, chamber musician and frequent collaborator of Buswell, Andrew Goodridge, said The Violin Channel. “He was a master at his craft, a dynamic performer and a very insightful teacher, as well as a true gentleman. He was an inspiration to me, and I was honored to know and work with him.”

“My time with James Buswell has been very inspiring,” said Dr Robin wilson from the Australian National Academy of Music, who studied with Buswell at the New England Conservatory in the 1990s. “An exceptional violinist in his own right, his demonstrations filled me with admiration and I loved hearing anecdotes about his time of student with Galamian and Gingold. Extremely scholar and encouraging, he often spoke about the connections and influences between all the Arts. I still quote this to my own students when I say “every good string player must be obsessed with the opera at some point in his life! My sincere condolences to his family. “

“I am very sorry to hear that James Buswell has passed away”, Itzhak Perlman told The Violin Channel. “He and I studied with Mr. Galamian about 60 years ago and spent summers together at the Meadowmount Summer Program. “

Our condolences to the family, friends, students and colleagues of Mr. Buswell.


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