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James Donahue

James Donahue

Orchestra Member

Year Joined
Most memorable performance with the ESO

I have enjoyed each performance with the ESO, but the one that has special significance for me was the June 2013 performance of Debussy’s Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun, which has a glorious flute part that every flutist wants to play. This was my first opportunity to perform Faun in an orchestra after many years of studying the solo part.

Favorite ESO soloist

The ESO brings in some remarkable guest artists, and they have all been a joy to work with, but the violinist Irina Muresanu has been a real stand out for me.

Why I like playing with the ESO

The best part of playing with the ESO is the wonderful programming. We get to play some of the greatest repertoire ever written. The other members of the orchestra are wonderful to work with and we have a great flute section.

Favorite composer or piece

This is always a hard question to answer. The top of the list would include Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto.

When I’m not playing with the ESO, I’m…

I consider myself very fortunate to have a career in music. I currently teach flute at Knight Music Academy (in Lake Zurich), Midwest Conservatory of Music (Hoffman Estates), Veritas Music & Learning Center (Gurnee) and in my home studio. I regularly perform as a guest flutist with the Elgin and Rockford Symphony Orchestras and accept other freelance engagements as I can. I serve on the board of directors for the Chicago Flute Club and am the coordinator of the club’s Solo Artist Competition and the biennial Kujala International Piccolo Competition.

Something most people don’t know about me

For all my adult life I have been actively involved in the sport of purebred dogs as a breeder and exhibitor of top winning champion Afghan Hounds and Salukis. On weekends when I am not playing a concert I can usually be found at a dog show.

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