American Health Council Names James VanDemark, BFA to Industry Board

Mr. James VanDemark, Professor of Double Bass and Chair of Musical Arts at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, has been selected to join the Industry Board at the American Health Council. He will be sharing his knowledge and expertise in Musical Arts, Fine Arts, and Student Wellness.

Mr. VanDemark has been active in the healthcare industry for the last 40 years. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from SUNY Buffalo in 1976. His passion for music and desire to make a difference in student wellness and conditioning through the musical arts led him to his current profession. Mr. VanDemark attributes the success he has had throughout his career to his imagination and strong work ethic.

Mr. VanDemark was appointed Professor of Double Bass at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music at age 23, one of the youngest to ever hold such a position at a major music school or university. He has served for many years as Chair of the String Department at Eastman and is also the Chair of the Musical Arts major, Eastman’s interdisciplinary academic honors program. Mr. VanDemark’s day-to-day responsibilities include individual teaching, student wellness, conditioning, boxing, oversight of the academic department, and running the conditioning and health program.

As a renowned performer on the double bass, VanDemark has been the recipient of new works by three Pulitzer Prize winners (Gian-Carlo Menotti, Christopher Rouse, and Joseph Schwantner) and has appeared as soloist under conductors Zubin Mehta, Jean-Pierre Rampal, and Pinchas Zukerman. He also has collaborated with many of the world’s great string quartets, including the Cleveland, Tokyo, Guarneri, and Muir.

Among his many accomplishments, Mr. VanDemark is most proud of having been featured on ESPN and in The Wall Street Journal for his boxing and conditioning programs and on the PBS NewsHour and in the New York Times for his arts and culture projects. His long-term goals include continued growth in his music and throughout his career.

Mr. VanDemark is a member of the American String Teachers Association and International Society of Bassists. Charitable organizations he has worked with include the Aquinas High School Boxing Program and the Ganondagan (Native American) State Historic Site.

In his free time, Mr. VanDemark enjoys traveling, food, and motorcycles.


James VanDemark


Professor of Double Bass/Chair of Musical Arts at Eastman School of Music

  • Industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, established the Eastman School of Music in 1921 as the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Through the efforts of Eastman, Howard Hanson (Eastman Director from 1924-1964), and University President Rush Rhees, the Eastman School became an innovator in American music education.
  • The original vision of a music school dedicated to the highest levels of artistry and scholarship, to the broad education of young musicians within the context of a university, to the musical enrichment and education of the greater community, and to the promotion of American music and musicians, is still alive and vital through the Eastman School’s numerous creative endeavors.