Wednesday, September 14, 2011
When Ray Chen picked up a toy guitar at age four in his hometown of Brisbane, put it under his chin and played it with a chopstick, his parents knew the violin would be his instrument.
“I started with the Suzuki method, which was fun and made me want to play,” said Ray. “Every Saturday there would be a ‘group lesson’ where all of my teacher’s students would gather. At the time, there were two things that were important to me about those lessons: the part where I played in front of everybody, and the break where we would snack on cookies and cordial.”
Now, 17 years after his first lesson, 21-year-old Ray Chen is making his debut with the Sydney Symphony in Brahms’s Violin Concerto, one of the most technically demanding works in the violin repertoire.
Born in Taiwan, immigrated to Brisbane with his parents when he was only a few months old. He went on to study at the Queensland Conservatorium before being accepted at the age of 15 to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.