- Instrument Principal, Flute
James Blanchard is the Principal Flutist of the Des Moines Symphony and Principal Flutist of the Opera San Jose orchestra. James has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Silicon Valley. As part of a collaboration between Music Academy of the West and the London Symphony Orchestra, James will travel to London and participate in masterclasses, lessons, chamber music, and orchestral performances alongside members of the LSO.
James is a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico. After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy, he received his Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University where he studied with Leone Buyse at the Shepherd School of Music. While at Rice, James founded the Prismatics Woodwind Quintet, which went on to win the bronze medal at the 2015 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.
After graduating from Rice, James earned his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School where he studied with Robert Langevin. During his time in New York City, James won second prize at the 2017 New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition. He also founded Tangent Winds, another woodwind quintet that also won the bronze medal at the 2018 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.
James has attended the Aspen Music Festival as a member of the Contemporary Ensemble, the Sarasota Music Festival, the Texas Music Festival, and Music Academy of the West.
James lives in San Jose, California with his husband.
James has been a member of the Des Moines Symphony since 2018.