Beethoven's Violin Concerto
Michael Francis, guest conductor
Ray Chen, violin
Preview Talk at 7 p.m. with host Alan Chapman. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.
Beethoven’s only violin concerto remains one of the most widely played and popular works for the instrument. Famous for its spirited final movement, the work reveals the amazing melodic and technical range of the violin. Also featured is Edward Elgar’s regal Symphony No. 1, a work that was performed over 100 times within a year of its premiere and was hailed by The Musical Times as an "immediate and phenomenal success."
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Edward Elgar is credited with lifting British music out of the two centuries of mundane mediocrity in which it had been mired since the death of Henry Purcell. His much anticipated Symphony No. 1 of 1908 — richly scored, luxuriantly melodic, nobly sentimental — received some 100 performances in just more than a year of its premiere.
Winner of the Queen Elisabeth (2009) and Yehudi Menuhin Competitions (2008), Ray Chen is among the most compelling young violinists today. “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,” said the great Maxim Vengerov.
Ray has released three critically acclaimed albums on Sony: a recital program “Virtuoso” of works by Bach, Tartini, Franck, and Wieniawski, and the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky concertos with Swedish Radio Orchestra and Daniel Harding. Following the success of these recordings, Ray was profiled by The Strad and Gramophone magazines as “the one to watch”. “Virtuoso” was distinguished with the prestigious ECHO Klassik award. His third recording, an all-Mozart album with Christoph Eschenbach and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, was released in January 2014.
Ray has appeared with some of the leading orchestras around the world including the London Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France where he joined Daniele Gatti for the televised Bastille Day concert in Paris to an audience of over 800,000. Other recent highlights include his 2016 debut at the BBC Proms where he appeared with the BBC Symphony at Royal Albert Hall in London.
Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Ray was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at age 15, where he studied with Aaron Rosand and was supported by Young Concert Artists. He plays the 1715 “Joachim” Stradivarius violin on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. This instrument was once owned by the famed Hungarian violinist, Joseph Joachim (1831-1907).