Hailed as "sensitive and precise” and “hauntingly beautiful” (New Classic LA), American tenor James Onstad is an exciting new presence on the concert and operatic stage. Recent performances include debuts with the Chicago Symphony (in Bernstein’s Mass) and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (in John Cage’s sprawling operatic epic Europeras - a co-production of the LA Philharmonic and The Industry). In August and September of 2018 James appeared in title role of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide in a co-production with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Clarence Brown Theater, described by Hedy Weiss of WTTW Chicago as “beautifully sung, emotionally true.”
A versatile artist, James enjoys performing a wide range of repertoire from classical masters to modern-day innovators. An ardent advocate of new music, he is a regular performer with The Industry, and has collaborated closely with MacArthur Genius Award recipient Matthew Aucoin, singing in Aucoin’s opera Crossing with the American Repertory Theater (in 2015) and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (in 2017), as well as premiering the role of Jake in Aucoin's Second Nature with Chicago Lyric Opera Unlimited.
A native of Santa Fe, James graduated cum laude from Harvard University where he majored in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology with a minor in French. He holds a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.