Academy Virtuosi: Meet the Artists

Ziqi (Flavia) Jin, Cello

 Bio and photo TK 

James Birch is a 17-year-old Australian/British violinist. He was born in Sydney, Australia, to an English father and Chinese mother. He began playing the violin at the age of four and a half and piano at five. He relocated to England with his family in 2019 to further his musical studies.  

James is currently a full-time student at the Colburn Music Academy in Los Angeles, California, studying with Robert Lipsett. While in England, he was granted an exceptional scholarship to the Junior Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Here, by special arrangement, he studied under the renowned Professor David Takeno, becoming his youngest student. He also studied with So-Ock Kim from the Royal Academy of Music and was mentored by Nicola Benedetti, Rachel Podger, Shlomo Mintz. In Australia, he was a scholar in the Rising Stars program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he studied under Dr. Evgeny Sorkin and was mentored by Simon James.

Competition accolades include the 2019 Zhuhai International Mozart competition, the First Prize at the 2020 London Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition, New Talent Award at the 2021 British International Youth Music Competition & Festival, First Prize Winner at the 2022 ISA Young Musician of the Year, and the Hattori Foundation 2022 and 2023 Junior Award Winner. 


Caden Lin, Piano

Bio and photo TK

A 10th grader at the Stanford Online High School, David started piano lessons at age five. He made his solo debut at the Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York. A student at the Colburn Music Academy, David currently studies with HyeJin Kim. Prior to that, he studied with Dr. Alex McDonald from 2017 to 2021.  

Recently, he has received many accolades, such as being selected as one of five finalists in the 2023 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, First Place in the 2022 Piano Star International Competition, Second Place and Best Baroque Prize in the 2022 Spotlight International Piano Competition, First Place in the 2022 Colburn Piano Seminar Competition, and Second Place in the 2022 Edith Knox Performance Competition. He was also the Gold Medalist in the 2021 Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, where he made his orchestral debut with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Salvador Brotons in January 2022.  

In addition, David was the Junior National winner of the 2021 MTNA Competition and placed first in the 2021 Texas Music Teachers Association Piano Competition, the 2021 Vernell Gregg Young Artists Competition, the 2020 Memphis International Piano Festival and Competition, the 2019 Collin County Young Artists Competition, the 2019 University of Texas Arlington Keyboard Competition, and the 2019 Texas A&M Commerce Youth Piano Competition.  

Over the summers, David has attended music camps such as the Texas State International Piano Festival, the Southeastern Piano Festival, and the Colburn Piano Seminar. Besides playing piano, David enjoys playing basketball, video games, and the violin.  

The Colburn School is grateful to Terri and Jerry Kohl for their remarkable support of students, faculty, and programming.


Margaret Batjer, Director, Academy Virtuosi

Margaret Batjer has served as concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1998. She is also renowned as a violin soloist, chamber musician, and teacher, and has established herself as a versatile and respected artist worldwide.

Batjer has appeared as soloist with America’s leading orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Batjer has also performed with leading European ensembles such as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (of Ireland), Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the Hallé Orchestra. She has performed at many of the great halls across the continents such as La Scala, Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Suntory Hall.

An esteemed chamber musician, Batjer was a longtime participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, and has often performed on tours with Musicians From Marlboro. Summers have found her performing in the La Jolla SummerFest, the Sarasota Music Festival, Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival and abroad at the Naples, Cremona and the Salzburg Festival.

Ms. Batjer also serves as Director of Chamber Music for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra establishing two series, Westside Connections and In Focus, over the last decade. Among Batjer’s most noteworthy performances have been traversals of the complete Beethoven and Brahms violin sonata cycles in partnership with pianist Jeffrey Kahane, at Zipper Hall in Los Angeles. Batjer has collaborated with such notables as Chris Thile, Salvatore Accardo, Maurizio Pollini, Radu Lupu, Peter Serkin, Wu Han, and David Finckel. In 2020, she formed the Los Angeles Piano Trio with colleagues pianist, Fabio Bidini and cellist, Andrew Shulman.

Ms. Batjer has had an extensive recording career over the last several decades. Her most recent recording with the LA Chamber Orchestra includes the live premiere of the Pierre Jalbert Violin Concerto, and works by Bach, Pärt, and Vasks released on the BIS label She recorded the Bach Concerto for Two Violins with Salvatore Accardo and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for the Philips label, and later a 2003 Deutsche Grammophon recording pairing Batjer and Hilary Hahn as soloists with Jeffrey Kahane conducting the LA Chamber Orchestra. She has also made numerous chamber music recordings on the EMI, Nuova Era and BMG labels.

Batjer is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Ivan Galamian and David Cerone. She joined the faculty of the USC, Thornton School of Music in 2005, and the Colburn Music Academy in 2014, where she teaches violin and directs the Academy Virtuosi.