Sarah Chang

A child prodigy, Sarah Chang was accepted to Juilliard before the age of 10. Now just 30 years old, Chang has become one of the most successful solo violinists in the world. She’s also fluent in English, Korean, and German, and serves as a U.S. Cultural Ambassador. To say that she is accomplished is an understatement.

Born to South Korean immigrants, Chang was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1980. Her mother and father moved to the United States so they could study music at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, respectively. Chang’s first music lessons were with her mother, who starting teaching her the piano when she was 3. She received her first violin a year later, and immediately took to it. In 1986, little more than 5 years old, Chang was accepted to the Juilliard School of Music and was awarded their Starling scholarship.

She attended the school on the weekends, when her parents would drive her to New York City from their home near Philadelphia. Though she’d been playing in public since she was 5, Chang made her professional debut when she was just 8 years old. She auditioned for Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti, conductors of the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and both were so astonished that they offered her performance opportunities with both of their orchestras. She debuted in New York, playing Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1.

Her professional debut netted her a contract with EMI Classics, to whom she’s stayed loyal throughout her entire career. She released her first album, Debut, in 1992, topping the U.S. classical charts. Chang continued to record and tour throughout her teen years, sometimes making as many as 150 international appearances annually. In 1999, she was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, given to the best classical musicians in the United States.

In 2002, Chang was invited to play for the North Korean government. Calling it “frightening and exhilarating at the same time,” the performance began Chang’s side career as a cultural ambassador. In 2008, she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Three years later, she was appointed by President Obama as a member of the Commission on Russian Relations and as a State Department Special Cultural Envoy.

Chang has received an astonishing and diverse amount of acclaim for her playing. Newsweek magazine listed her as one of their Top Eight Achieving Females in 2006. In 2004, she carried the Olympic Torch. That same year, she also became the youngest person ever to enter the Hollywood Bowl’s Hall of Fame. Yale University dedicated a chair in their music department to her in 2006.

Given her young age, Chang surprisingly doesn’t play much contemporary music. Her repertory tends instead toward classical composers, particularly Paganini, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius. In recent years, she’s also developed an interest in chamber music, usually working with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Sarah Chang is a truly remarkable woman. Her technical prowess is unrivalled, and has been honed almost exclusively through 20 years of touring. With a commitment to the universality of music, she travels the world not only as a musician but also as a goodwill ambassador. Still in her early 30s, it’s exciting to see where such a star can go from here.

Sarah Chang Videos

Sarah Chang - Carmen Fantasy (Sarasate)

Sarah Chang Plays "Carmen Fantasy"

Sarasate's "Carmen Fantasy" is one of the most popular pieces of music in the violin repertoire.

Sarah Chang - Paganini Cantabile (HQ)

Sarah Chang -- Paganini's Cantabile

"Cantabile" is an Italian term referring to instrumental songs composed to sound like the human voice.

Sarah Chang, Simon Rattle - Shostakovich & Prokofiev Violin Concertos

Sarah Chang and Simon Rattle Explain Shostakovitch and Prokofiev's Violin Concertos

In 2009, Sarah Chang joined forces with the esteemed English conductor Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic for a two-part feature of Shostak

Sarah Chang interviewed by Dr. Benjamin Boone  for "Inside the Music"

Sarah Chang Interviewed for "Inside the Music"

"Inside the Music" is a educational video series put on by the Fresno Philharmonic.

Child Prodigy Sara Chang from 1993

13-Year-Old Sarah Chang's Recital

In this video, Sarah Chang is only 13 years old. You'd have a hard time believing that if you just heard the audio and didn't watch the video.

LSO Google+ Hangout with Maxine Kwok-Adams & Sarah Chang

Maxine Kwok-Adams and Sarah Chang Have a Google Hangout

In 2013, Sarah Chang and London Symphony Orchestra violinist Maxine Kwok-Adams joined fans for a Google Hangout, where anyone can have a virtual

Tchaikovsky   Violin Concerto in D Op 35   장영주(Sarah Chang)

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D -- Sarah Chang

"The violin was not played, but beaten black and blue." That's how one music critic described Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto after its premiere.

Sarah Chang - Chopin Nocturne n° 20 (HQ)

Sarah Chang -- Chopin's Nocturne No. 20

Since an early age, Chopin has been a favorite of Sarah Chang's.

Sarah Chang: CNN Interview (Part 1)

Sarah Chang's CNN Interview: Part 1

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout sat down with Sarah Chang for a full-length interview discusses the remarkable career of the 30-year-old violinist.

Sarah Chang - Salut d'amour, Op.12 - Elgar  사랑의 인사 - 엘가

Sarah Chang Performs "Salut d'Amour"

"Salut d'Amor" ("Hello to Love") was written by English composer Edward Elgar in 1888.


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