Violinist Ray Chen, who captivated the classical music scene with his consecutive victories at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2009 and the Yehudi Menuhin Competition in 2008, has signed an exclusive multi-year recording contract with Sony Classical. In February of this year, Mr. Chen signed a worldwide general management contract with CAMI Music.
His first album on Sony Classical, slated to be released at the end of 2010, will feature a selection of pieces â€” from Bach to Sarasate â€” that reflect the scope of Mr. Chen’s talent as well as his compelling personality. An orchestral recording dedicated to late 19th century virtuoso repertoire is planned for 2011.
Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Ray Chen made his solo orchestral debut at the age of 8. He was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 15, where he continues to work with Aaron Rosand on expanding his repertoire. Mr. Chen plays the “Huggins” Stradivarius, on loan from The Nippon Music Foundation, and the 1721 Stradivarius known as “The Macmillan”, provided as part of the award for winning the 2008-09 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York.
His recent performances, including debut recitals at the Kennedy Center in Washington D. C. and the Merkin Hall in New York, have enraptured both the audiences and the critics. “Ray Chen can do pretty much anything he wants on the violin” (Anne Midgette, The Washington Post). “From the first notes there was no doubt of being in the presence of something very special” (Dennis Rooney, The Strad).
Mr. Chen’s rendition of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto became the much-discussed highlight of the 2009 Aspen Music Festival. Maxim Vengerov, who met Mr. Chen while serving on the jury of the Menuhin Competition in Cardiff, immediately engaged him to perform with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in St. Petersburg as well as at the opening concert of the next Menuhin Competition in April 2010 in Oslo. “I have had the pleasure of knowing Ray Chen since his triumph at the Yehudi Menuhin Competition”, says Maxim Vengerov. “Ray has proven himself to be a very pure musician with great qualities such as a beautiful youthful tone, vitality and lightness. He has all the skills of a truly musical interpreter.”
Ray Chen said: “I am very excited to become a Sony Classical artist and I am looking forward to this wonderful collaboration. Our joint mission is to capture the excitement, passion, and life in a performance of the finest quality and to bring them to the audiences worldwide”.
Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical, said: “For me, experiencing the musicianship of Ray Chen for the first time was as exciting and the decision to sign him as immediate as with Gustavo Dudamel a few years ago. I was absolutely convinced only minutes into the very first piece I ever heard from him. Since then, I have become acquainted with a young musician who seems to have it all: an amazing, instantly recognizable tone; a charismatic personality and a musical authority quite unusual for someone his age. He is at the beginning of a major recording career and it is a privilege to be able to build it with him.”