James Zabawa-Martinez was born in Austin, Texas and began studies at age 11 with his middle school orchestra. When James was 14 he met with violinist Jennifer Bourianoff from the Austin Symphony through her tutoring at his school and began to study with her, where he met Sally O’Reilly. He then moved to Faribault, Minnesota to attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s Conservatory on a full scholarship to continue to study with Sally O’Reilly. He has performed across the United States and Europe. In 2014, James earned a BM in violin performance and is currently pursuing a Masters in Violin Performance with Professor Brian Lewis at UT-Austin.