James Denton has been a cellist with the world-renowned Houston Symphony since 1988. As seniors in high school, he along with Chicago Symphony Principal Cellist, John Sharp, became the youngest members at that time of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. With Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude, and Master of Music degrees in Cello Performance (conferred concurrently in 1982 after 5 years of study), Denton was in the third class of The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. While there, he studied with Shirley Trepel and toured the United States with the Houston Grand Opera Studio. As a post-graduate Denton studied with William Pleeth in London, Lev Aronson in Dallas and Robert LaMarchina in Honolulu.
Before moving to Honolulu in 1985, he performed Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Galveston Symphony and became active as an alumnus in SYZYGY, which was the New Music at Rice ensemble. After a 1984 SYZYGY concert featuring Canto di Speranza for piano quartet by Jan Tausinger and Grave, metamorphoses for cello and piano by Witold Lutoslawski.
While studying cello in Honolulu from 1985-1988, Denton was a cellist with the Honolulu Symphony, serving for one year as Acting Assistant Principal. He was also on the faculty of the Punahou School as Instructor of Cello and Chamber Music. Denton gave faculty recitals at the Punahou School and performed multiple times at the Academy Theatre in the Honolulu Academy of Arts, including chamber music concerts with Joseph Silverstein and José Feghali, the latter of which was his 1988 “farewell” recital after he had won a position with the Houston Symphony earlier in the year.
After assuming his position with the Houston Symphony, Denton was invited by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach and Composer-in-Residence Tobias Picker, to perform with INNOVA, a group dedicated to the performance of contemporary chamber music featuring The Houston Symphony New Music Ensemble. Denton performed Aribert Reimann’s Nocturnos for Violoncello and Harp as a guest artist in 1989.Read more >>