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James Griffith

James Griffith, viola, received his M.M. degree from the Juilliard School. He also received his undergraduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music and attended Florida State University. He is a former member of the Hudson String Quartet in New York, faculty member of Point-Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp in Vermont and director of the New Arts Festival in Fort Myers. He formerly served as principal violist of the New York Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and the New York Virtuosi.

Griffith is a Florida native and returned in 1998. Since then he has managed the founding and development of what has become a premier visual and performing arts organization in the City of Fort Myers. Working with state and local historic preservation offices and federal, state and local governments, he has successfully managed the acquisition, planning, design and restoration of the historic former Federal Building in downtown Fort Myers to become the new premier fine art center now known as the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

Griffith was recently honored as the "Arts Organization Leader of the Year" by the Lee County Alliance of the Arts "Angels of the Arts" awards. He has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1988.

James Griffith is underwritten by Al & Mary Agnes McQuinn.

Name: James Griffith

Instrument: Viola

Hometown: Sarasota, FL

At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 12

Who have been your greatest musical influences? My Juilliard teachers Lillian Fuchs and Paul Doktor, and chamber music coaches Felix Galimir and members of the Juilliard Quartet.

Who are your favorite composers? Stravinsky and Shostakovich.

What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? I was pretty good at washing dishes and working construction to pay for college. Who knows where that would have taken me?

What's currently playing on your iPod or CD player? Mostly bluegrass: Cadillac Sky and Bethany Dick.

Your hobbies and interests: Family, architecture and restoring old buildings.

Funniest concert moment: I was on tour playing a chamber orchestra concert in Washington, D.C. The conductor came onstage and someone had secretly switched his baton to a fairy's wand with a little star on the tip. When he picked it up to begin, I began laughing so hard I was crying for the entire first movement of the piece we were playing.

Daily practice rituals: Git-R-Done!!!

The question you're asked most often about your instrument (and your answer): "But what do you do for a living?" answer: Usually a paralytic stare.

Your favorite part about playing in the Naples Philharmonic: The tremendous and diverse repertoire we have performed over the past 19 seasons.

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