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James Choi

Committed to a life of teaching, James maintains a private studio in Fremont and San Ramon in addition to teaching at the college and preparatory departments of Holy Names University. He coaches the violin section of the Oakland Symphony's Youth Orchestra. In 2024, he joins the violin faculty at the Montecito International Summer Festival. He was previously the director of Stanford's Advanced Suzuki Institute and chamber music coach at Indiana University's Summer String Academy. 

James has performed in major cities across Asia, Europe, Australia and the United States, often as a chamber musician working with some of the world's leading artists Joshua Bell, Kyung-wha Chung, Yuja Wang and others. Other prominent concert engagements include solo recitals at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall and San Francisco's Herbst Theater as well as concerto performances with regional and university orchestras.

As a student, James was a regular scholarship and fellowship recipient of various festivals and institutes in the US, including the Aspen Music Festival and the Encore School for Strings. He was invited to numerous overseas festivals as well, among them the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Moritzburg Festival Academy where he was one of four American violinists and one of twelve violinists total selected from an international pool of applicants. 

James attended Indiana University Jacob's School of Music as the recipient of the Rose and Irving Fell Scholarship and the Faculty Merit Award. His principal teachers at Indiana include Henryk Kowalski, the longtime assistant to Josef Gingold, and Federico Agostini, assistant to Franco Gulli. While his principal teachers were on sabbatical, he also had the privilege of studying with visiting professors Paul Biss, Michel Zaitzeff, Koichiro Harada and Joshua Bell. He studied pedagogy with Mimi Zweig and Brenda Brenner. He later went on to study with Nam-yun Kim at the Korea National University of Arts but his studies were cut short due to an injury. Other principal teachers include Zoya Leybin, Julie Athayde, Wei He, and Jonathan Vinocour for viola studies. 

James completed his pre-med coursework, also studied coding and worked as a software engineer intern for six months. Interestingly, this experience has changed his approach to music and teaching. He now encourages students to also deeply immerse themselves in other areas of study, especially ones that hone skills in logic, analysis and critical thinking. Ultimately, he wants students to be able to teach themselves- to be able to assess and correct their own problems and make interpretations based on sound reasoning. 

James' students regularly place in competitions, serve as leaders in various youth orchestras and have been accepted to major conservatories and music schools in the US. 


Community outreach has always been an integral part of my career, from senior center performances to group teaching in low-income areas. I'm grateful to all students who've joined me in continuing this work through

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