Faculty & Staff

James Brinkmann

Department Chair: Woodwind



DePaul University
B.M., Flute Performance

Tenure at Merit:

4 years, 9 months




James Brinkmann’s musical journey began at age 12 when he was captivated by the sound of the flute and told his mom, “I have to play that instrument!” Thanks to supportive parents, he began playing in the school band. Within two years he started private lessons with Lisa Byrnes, Associate Principal Flute of the Utah Symphony, and continued to study with her through his sophomore year at the University of Utah. Mr. Brinkmann transferred to DePaul University to complete his degree, earning a Bachelor of Music in flute performance.

Mr. Brinkmann has played with the New World Symphony, the Lakeview Orchestra and is currently a member of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra. He enjoys exploring lesser known works, and his recitals typically feature hidden gems of the flute repertoire. Mr. Brinkmann competes (and has been recognized) locally and nationally, and enjoys participating in master classes.

As a teaching artist, he is passionate about expanding the audience for classical music and guiding listeners to engage with the performance in meaningful ways. Mr. Brinkmann recently completed a series of interactive performances, encouraging the audience to translate music into paintings, puzzles, and stories to find a more personal meaning in the music. He also enjoys performing in unique settings, such as in airports and on public streets to break down performer-audience barriers and help to connect people to one another.

When not working or practicing, Mr. Brinkmann enjoys traveling, taking walks through Chicago, meditating and playing tennis. He shares his home with his Russian Blue cat, Shosti (short for Shostakovich).

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“Music helps us to break down our barriers and to connect with one another as people.”