Violinist and online personality, Ray Chen redefines what it means to be a classical musician in the 21st century. With a global reach that enhances and inspires a new classical audience, Ray Chen's remarkable musicianship transmits to millions around the world, reflected through his engagements both online and with the foremost orchestras and concert halls around the world.
Beyond the performing arts, his work has also contributed to philanthropy, popular culture and educational technology. Initially coming to attention via the Yehudi Menuhin (2008) and Queen Elizabeth (2009) Competitions, of which he was First Prize winner, he has built a profile in Europe, Asia, and the USA as well as his native Australia both live and on disc. Signed in 2017 to Decca Classics, the summer of 2017 has seen the recording of the first album of this partnership with the London Philharmonic as a succession to his previous three critically acclaimed albums on SONY, the first of which (“Virtuoso”) received an ECHO Klassik Award. Profiled as “one to watch” by the Strad and Gramophone magazines, his profile has grown to encompass his featuring in the Forbes list of 30 most influential Asians under 30, appearing in major online TV series “Mozart in the Jungle”, a multi-year partnership with Giorgio Armani (who designed the cover of his Mozart album with Christoph Eschenbach) and performing at major media events such as France’s Bastille Day (live to 800,000 people), the Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm (telecast across Europe), and the BBC Proms.
“It’s hard to say something new with these celebrated works; however, Ray Chen performs them with the kind of authority that puts him in the same category as Maxim Vengerov.”— Corriere della Sera
He has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Munich Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra Nazionale della Santa Cecilia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, SWR Symphony, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, and Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra. He works with conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Vladimir Jurowski, Sakari Oramo, Manfred Honeck, Daniele Gatti, Kirill Petrenko, Krystof Urbanski, and Juraj Valcuha.
More recently, Ray Chen co-founded Tonic, an independent startup that aims to motivate musicians and learners around the world to practice their craft together. Although new, the innovative app has cultivated a highly engaged and supportive community and is available to download on iOS and Android. Ray Chen’s presence on social media makes him a pioneer in an artist’s interaction with their audience, utilising the new opportunities of modern technology. His appearances and interactions with music and musicians are instantly disseminated to a new public in a contemporary and relatable way. He is an ambassador for SONY Electronics, a music consultant for Riot Games - the leading esports company best known for League of Legends, and has been featured in Vogue magazine. He released his own design of a violin case for the industry manufacturer GEWA and proudly plays Thomastik Infeld strings. His commitment to music education is paramount, and inspires the younger generation of music students with his series of self-produced videos combining comedy, education and music. Through his online promotions his appearances regularly sell out and draw an entirely new demographic to the concert hall.
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 1714 “Dolphin” Stradivarius violin on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. This instrument was once owned by the famed violinist, Jascha Heifetz.