James VanValkenburg, Assistant Principal Viola of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, came to orchestral playing after a satisfying career in chamber music. As a founding member of the International String Quartet, he toured the world with concerts in Europe, the Far East, South America, and the United States. The quartet won several notable prizes, including the Munich Competition, East & West Artists of New York, and first prize in the Premier Grand Prix at the International Chamber Music Competition in Evian, France.
A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Indiana University School of Music, VanValkenburg has enjoyed chamber music collaborations with many of his favorite musicians: Menahem Pressler, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, David Shifrin, and Isaac Stern. He became a member of Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings in 2004. His recent recordings, all on the Koch International label, include a violin-viola duet by William Bolcom, piano quartets by Franz Waxman and the Stravinsky septet. VanValkenburg enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, ages 14 and 11, as well as training for and competing in Ironman triathlons.