July 9, 2018. Violinist Ray Chen is a local luminary who is lighting up classical music worldwide. He’s appeared with orchestras across the U.S. and throughout Europe, and began recording with Sony Classics in 2010. Now 29, he has an engaging new CD, his first with Decca Classics—The Golden Age—which we are celebrating as Album of the Week.
Ray Chen made his way to Philadelphia in a circuitous route that started in Taiwan, the country of his birth. As a young child, he moved to Australia where he began his studies, and made his orchestral debut with the Queensland Philharmonic at the age of eight.
At 15, Chen came to Philadelphia to attend The Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Aaron Rosand, and where he still has a home.
His new album features works made famous by Jascha Heifetz and Fritz Kreisler.
The Golden Age includes Bruch’s famous first violin concerto, along with encore pieces transcribed by Heifetz and made popular during his career as recitalist. The disc also has three arrangements by Stephan Koncz, the cellist in Chen’s string quartet, Made in Berlin, an ensemble made up of members of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Koncz has arranged Debussy's Clair de Lune as well as the traditional "Waltzing Matilda". There's also a piece based on the Gymnopedie No. 1 of French composer Erik Satie, called “Satiesfaction,” which has had tens of thousands of hits on YouTube!
The Golden Age could well refer to the violin Chen is playing, the Stradivarius once owned by the great violinist Josef Joachim.
Ray Chen recently visited WRTI. You can watch and listen to his interview with WRTI’s Susan Lewis here.
The Golden Age Tracklist
- Satie: Satiesfaction (Arr. Koncz) *
- Kreisler: Syncopation
- Ponce: Estrellita (Arr. Heifetz)
- Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
- i) Vorspiel: Allegro moderato
- ii) Adagio
- iii) Finale: Allegro energico
- Debussy: Clair de lune (Arr. Koncz) [Suite bergamasque, L. 75] *
- Kreisler: Schön Rosmarin
- Gershwin: Summertime / A Woman Is a Sometime thing (Arr. Heifetz) [Porgy and Bess]
- Lotus Land (Arr. Kreisler)
- Macpherson: Waltzing Matilda (Arr. Koncz) *
* With Ray’s quartet ‘Made in Berlin’