"In the Brahms G major sonata, Op. 78, Buswell made you realize what truly concentrated is like," raved the Boston Globe about a performance by violinist James Buswell.
He started playing the violin at age five and was quoted on the Facebook page of Connecticut's Greenwich Symphony as saying that "If you had good teachers when you were young, you achieve an effortless playing. I am fortunate to keep playing like this." Buswell made his solo debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at seven and continued to work with top orchestras and conductors at a young age. At 18 he toured with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, playing the Brahms Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, in a series of cities. Buswell studied at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and then moved on to Harvard University, where he majored in art history. He taught at the Indiana University School of Music for more than a decade and then, from 1987 to 2011, at the New England Conservatory. During a period as a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, he often appeared at that venue and around the New York metropolitan area, as well as in and near Boston.
In addition to a repertoire of some 100 works covering three centuries of mainstream violin music, Buswell has been noted as a champion of contemporary music. He has given world premieres of works by Donald Erb, Charles Wuorinen, Gian Carlo Menotti, Ned Rorem, Leon Kirchner, John Harbison, Gunther Schuller, William Bolcom, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and Peter Schickele, and has also worked to revive lesser-known works by composers of the 20th century, including Martinu, Weill, Busoni, and Respighi.
That specialty has led Buswell to cross paths with the Naxos label; all of his recordings, except for a 1995 traversal of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, have been on that label. In 1998, he recorded Walter Piston's two violin concertos, and in 2016, he was featured on a CD of works by Turkish composer Ulvi Cemal Erkin, with the Istanbul Symphony Orchestra conducted by Theodore Kuchar.
© James Manheim /TiVo