Meet the musicians

Basil Vendryes


Basil Vendryes has been Principal Violist of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra since 1993.  He is a former member of the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Rochester Philharmonic orchestras.  As violist with the Aurora String Quartet (1986-95) Mr. Vendryes performed extensively, including recitals in New York, London and Tokyo.  He currently serves on the faculties of the Lamont School of Music of the University of Denver, the Castleman Quartet Programs in New York and Oregon, and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont.  Mr. Vendryes has served on the faculties of Biola University (CA), California Summer Music at Pebble Beach, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Green Valley Music Festival, Montecito International Music Festival, Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy and the Music and More Summerfest in Trebinje, Herzegovina.  For 18 years he was the founder/director of the Colorado Young Sinfonia, 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 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.  He has appeared as soloist with the Colorado, Aurora, Jefferson, Littleton, Lamont, Centennial, and Biola Symphonies, among others.  Festival appearances include Spoleto, Heidelberg, Sunflower, Midsummer Mozart, Ouray, Lake Winnepesaukee, Las Vegas, 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 on the juries for the Sphinx Competition for African American and Latino string players and the Hong Kong International Music Festival.  He has also served as guest principal violist for the the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. 

In January of 2023, violist Vendryes, who is principal viola with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, was awarded the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award by the Colorado State MLK Commission during a recital at Boettcher Hall.

Basil Vendryes has recorded for Columbia, Phillips, Decca, RCA, BIS, Hyperion and Nonesuch, as well as chamber music for the Albany, Ariel, Cadenza Music, Centaur, CRI and Naxos labels.  He is currently preparing a series of solo discs for the Toccata label. Mr. Vendryes plays on a rare Italian viola made in 1887 by Carlo Cerruti.