Ray Chen is a violinist who redefines what it is to be a classical musician in the 21st century. With a media presence that enhances and inspires the classical audience, reaching out to millions through his unprecedented online following, Chen's musicianship connects to a global audience that is reflected in his engagements with the foremost orchestras and concert halls worldwide.
Initially coming to attention via the Yehudi Menuhin (2008) and Queen Elisabeth (2009) competitions, of which he was first-prize winner, he has built a profile in Europe, Asia and the United States, as well as his native Australia both live and on disc. Signed in 2017 to Decca Classics, Chen recorded 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).
Hailed as “one to watch” by the Strad and Gramophone magazines, Chen has been featured on the Forbes list of 30 most influential Asians under 30, appeared in the TV series “Mozart in the Jungle,” signed a multiyear partnership with Giorgio Armani (who designed the cover of his Mozart album with Christoph Eschenbach) and performed 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.
He has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra Nazionale della Santa Cecilia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the SWR Symphony, 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, Juraj Valčuha and many others. From 2012 to 2015, he was in residence at the Dortmund Konzerthaus.
His presence on social media makes Chen a pioneer in audience engagement. His appearances and interactions with music and musicians are disseminated to a new public in a contemporary and relatable way. He is the first musician invited to write a lifestyle blog for largest Italian publishing house, RCS Rizzoli. He has been featured in Vogue magazine and created his own design of violin case for the industry manufacturer GEWA.
His commitment to music education is paramount, and he inspires music students with his series of self-produced videos combining comedy and music. Aided by his online promotions, his appearances regularly sell out and draw a new demographic to the concert hall.
Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Chen was accepted at age 15 to the Curtis Institute of Music, 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 famed Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim (1831-1907).