Maestro J (James Racine) was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti into a family of musicians. His parents are both professional classical musicians and educators. Maestro J began playing the violin at the age of four, instructed by his mother, and later studied with Yvrose Philippe-Auguste and Romel Joseph. Maestro J also studied the piano and the flute.

For much of his teen years, Racine would travel to the United States and attend the Sewanee Summer Music Center, in Tennessee. By the age of sixteen, he was the assistant concertmaster of the Holy Trinity Philharmonic Orchestra in Haiti and the first violinist of the Holy Trinity String Quartet. He led the quartet to the Finals at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in South Bend, Indiana. Maestro J then moved to the United States to pursue further musical education.

He studied the violin and the viola at the University of Kentucky. He performed with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. During his undergraduate years, Maestro J fell in love with teaching and volunteered his time to The String Project, a program delivered by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) to offer a musical education to the local youth. He was then hired to commute and teach along with Professor Hoffman at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  At the conservatory, he taught a strings class for the college’s preparatory program. Racine also founded The Animato String Quartet. He performed along with violinists Hristo Popov, Ella Chang and cellist Yoonie Choi. The quartet performed many concerts and were awarded a fellowship to participate in the Garth Newel Chamber Music Festival in Hot Springs, Virginia.


Maestro J is currently Orchestra and Musical Director at the Kentucky Country Day School. He also gives back to the community by teaching at the Western Louisville Talent Education Center along with Keith Cook. This is a program offering private instruction to children who cannot afford private lesson fees. Maestro J is a violist for The Louisville Bach Society, and when available, performs with The Louisville Orchestra.

Maestro J is one of the most celebrated contemporary jazz violinists of his era. His restless curiosity, passion, energy and multi-faceted musical interests have earned him the title of "The Blazin' Violinist". "Fear and creativity can't live in the same room", says Racine. He regularly honors performance commitments at events and many festivals across the nation and in the Caribbean. He has performed shows with artists such as Roy Ayers, Ronnie Laws, Euge Groove, Dru Hill, Amel Larrieux, Al Jarreau, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, and more. Maestro J has released three studio albums on which he showcases the best of his talent.



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