Sony Classical Signs Curtis Student


Ray Chen, a 21-year-old violinist student at the Curtis Institute of Music, has been picked up by Sony Classical.

His first release, planned for the end of this year, will show him in works of Bach, Sarasate and others. Another, in 2011, is to feature virtuoso 19th-century pieces with orchestra.

Sony Classical president Bogdan Roscic didn't spare the next-big-thing-by-association accolades in a prepared statement: 

"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."

In the meantime, he's continuing studies at Curtis with Aaron Rosand until May; he graduates Curtis May 15. Born in Taiwan, raised in Australia and Philadelphia, Chen came to Curtis at the age of 15, and has since won the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition and the 2008 Yehudi Menuhin Competition. During the past few years, when he hasn't been out winning awards and playing concertos (hear/see him in Mendelssohn here), you could often find him sitting in the violin section of the Curtis orchestra. Now it's Oslo, Munich, Paris and Copenhagen. Here's his schedule.