People #5: Sarah Chang, One of the Most Remarkable Violinists

Violinist Sarah Chang is recognized the world over as one of classical music’s most captivating and gifted performers. One of the most remarkable violinists of any generation, she has matured into a young artist whose musical insight, technical virtuosity, and emotional range continue to astonish.

Appearing in the music capitals of Asia, Europe and the Americas, she has collaborated with most major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra amongst others. The esteemed conductors with whom she has worked include Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, André Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas and David Zinman.In recital last season, Sarah Chang toured Europe and the US (culminating in a performance at Carnegie Hall) with pianist Ashley Wass and included in her programme a new sonata commissioned specially for her in memory of the late Isaac Stern by the American composer Richard Danielpour.

In past seasons, her recitals have included performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Symphony Hall in Boston, the Barbican Centre in London, the Philharmonie in Berlin as well as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.As a chamber musician, Sarah Chang has collaborated with such artists as Pinchas Zukerman, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yefim Bronfman, Martha Argerich, Leif Ove Andsnes, Stephen Kovacevich, Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Lars Vogt and the late Isaac Stern.

In 2005/06 Sarah Chang toured with members of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with a Sextet programme in summer festivals leading to a concert at the Berlin Philharmonie.Sarah Chang records exclusively for EMI Classics. Her widely lauded recordings include “Fire and Ice,” an album of popular shorter works for violin and orchestra, with Placido Domingo conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, a disc of chamber music for strings (Dvorak’s Sextet and Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence”) with current and former members of the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Dvorak’s Violin Concerto with the London Symphony and Sir Colin Davis, along with the Dvorak’s Piano Quintet (with Leif Ove Andsnes, Alex Kerr, Georg Faust and Wolfram Christ). She has also recorded a CD of French sonatas by Ravel, Saint-Saens and Franck, in collaboration with pianist Lars Vogt. Last season Sarah Chang recorded Prokofiev’s and Shostakovich’s first violin concertos live with the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle and this season recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which was released worldwide.

Born in Philadelphia to Korean parents, Sarah Chang began her violin studies at age 4 and promptly enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music, where she studied with the late Dorothy DeLay. Within a year she had already performed with several orchestras in the Philadelphia area.Her early auditions, at age 8, for Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti led to immediate engagements with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Sarah Chang has reached an even wider audience through numerous television and radio programs, concert broadcasts and best-selling records for EMI Classics throughout Europe, North America and the Far East. Along with Pete Sampras and Wynton Marsalis, she is a featured artist in Movado’s global advertising campaign “The Art of Time.”

In 2006, Sarah Chang was named by Newsweek as one of the Twenty Top Women on Leadership and in March last year, Sarah Chang was honoured to be named as a Young Global Leader for 2008 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for her professional achievements, commitment to society and potential in shaping the future of the world.
In 2005, Yale University named a chair in Sprague Hall in honor of Sarah Chang. In June 2004, she was given the honor of running with the Olympic Torch in New York, and became the youngest person ever to receive the Hollywood Bowl’s Hall of Fame award. She is a past recipient of Gramophone’s “Young Artist of the Year” award, Germany’s “Echo” Schallplattenpreis, “Newcomer of the Year” honours at the International Classical Music Awards in London, and Korea’s “Nan Pa” award. In July 2005 she was awarded the Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana Prize, and in 1999 she received the Avery Fisher Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given to instrumentalists. 

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