Piano virtuoso and Fulbright Scholar James Jelasic continues the rich musical heritage established by his maternal grandfather, Jan Nemec, a composer and playwright in Czechoslovakia in the early 1900s. In the family tradition, Mr. Jelasic began his piano studies at the age of six, and by the age of eighteen had twice been featured as a concerto soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Jelasic, a native of Dearborn, Michigan, received his early musical training at the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts, his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance on full scholarship from Eastern Michigan University, and his Master of Music degree in Accompanying and Chamber Music from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has also done advanced studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and at Warwick University in Coventry, England. Mr. Jelasics master teachers include such distinguished artists as Joseph Gurt in Ypsilanti, Michigan; Gordon Green of the Royal Academy of Music in London, England; Eugene Bossart in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Martin Katz in Boulder, Colorado, and Akron, Ohio; and Leonard Hokenson in Augsburg, Germany.
Mr. Jelasic resided for a year in Munich, Germany, under the gracious patronage of the Richard Strauss Family and while there performed extensively as both soloist and accompanist, and conducted advanced research into the interpretation of the German Lied. He then moved to Paris, having been awarded the prestigious Fulbright grant to research the interpretation of the French mélodie with the internationally acclaimed baritone, Gérard Souzay. At that time, in recognition of Mr. Jelasic's remarkable abilities as a performer and his demonstrated interest in the French culture, the Government of France sponsored his residency during the international summer music festival at the Maurice Ravel Academy in St. Jean-de-Luz, France. During his residency in Paris, Mr. Jelasic was also a guest lecturer at the American College in Paris/WICE and did extensive concert touring throughout France and the United Kingdom.
Mr. Jelasic has received critical international acclaim for his appearances with numerous symphony orchestras and as a collaborative performer in concert recitals. Several of his performances have been broadcast live by the BBC, Radio France, WGMS in Washington, D.C., and PBS Television. Mr. Jelasic has performed for U. S. presidents, foreign heads of state, ambassadors, and royalty.
While classically grounded, Mr. Jelasicés musical interests extend to traditional American ballroom dance music, which he often performs with his highly regarded society dance orchestra. Currently residing in metropolitan Washington, D.C., Mr. Jelasic maintains a full performance schedule as the leader of his dance orchestra and as a classical soloist, accompanist, and recording artist.