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Chamber Music Connection - James Thompson

Instrument/Department: Chamber Music Connection Coach, Violin
Joined Hochstein faculty in: 2024


Violinist/violist James Thompson enjoys a multifaceted career as a chamber musician, soloist, educator, and lecturer. He has performed extensively as a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Bowers Program since 2021.

Thompson has performed for chamber music organizations across the country, including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Music@Menlo, Chamberfest Cleveland, the Four Arts Society, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Harris Theater Presents, and Parlance Chamber Concerts, among others. Solo engagements include appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Asheville Symphony, Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra. He was invited to perform in Budapest as part of the First Bartok World Competition and in Sendai for the Seventh Sendai International Violin Competition.

Alongside his performance career, Thompson is a dedicated private instructor and chamber music coach. In 2019, he joined the faculty of Music@Menlo as both a coach for the Young Performer’s Program and a mainstage artist. He has recently served as a teaching fellow at both the Encore Chamber Music Festival and the Western Reserve Chamber Music Festival. He views his work with young people as an important aspect of his calling as a musician, and is grateful to have the opportunity to share with everyone the joy he has found making music.

Thompson holds Bachelor of Music, Master’s, and Artist Diploma degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music; his primary teachers include Jaime Laredo, William Preucil, and Paul Kantor.


More About James Thompson

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

What inspires me: I’ve always been inspired by the dedication of my musical mentors, Jaime Laredo and Paul Kantor. Their lifelong commitments to music and education, alongside their tremendous personal integrity, are qualities we can all aspire to achieve.

Why the arts matter: I view the arts as a celebration of human experience and achievement in all respects. Our inherent emotional capacity, creativity, and physical capability all come together to engage in the formation and appreciation of art as a community. The arts are a force for good, a source of inspiration, and a vehicle for better understanding ourselves and those around us.

Favorite things to do in Rochester area: Enjoying the public parks and markets.

When I’m not at Hochstein, you can find me: Ideally at home with my wife and cat! Otherwise, travelling to perform on violin and viola with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Favorite place to travel: I took a wonderful trip to Madrid and Barcelona for a series of performances in the fall – I don't know if I will be back in Spain in the near future, but it was a truly unforgettable experience. Fantastic food!

What people would be surprised to know about me: I have a variety of hobbies and interests outside of music. I am a chess addict. I love photographing birds, insects, and other animals with my wife, Jeanelle – we have thousands of pictures sorted on our computer. My latest passion project is a planted freshwater aquarium in my office that is a wonderful distraction from all the practicing I should be doing...