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: Mendelssohn Violin Concerto Mvt.1 Part2

Sarah Chang -- Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto: 1st Movement: Part 2

The first movement, or allegro, or Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto ends with a presto passage, meaning it is very fast, and very dramatic.

Sarah Chang entrevista

Sarah Chang Discusses the "Four Seasons"

"The 'Four Seasons' are the jewels of the Vivaldi repertoire." That's how Sarah Chang begins this interview on her performance of the violin mast

Sarah Chang: Mendelssohn Violin Concerto Mvt.2

Sarah Chang -- Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto: 2nd Movement

The andante, or slow second movement of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, is known for the intricate finger-work required for the violin solo.

Interview mit Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang Talks Touring and Performing

This interview comes from one of Sarah Chang's many stops in Germany.

Sarah Chang Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Sarah Chang Rehearsing

Have you ever wondered how a symphony prepares for their concerts?

Sarah Chang Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor 3rd Mvnt

Sarah Chang -- Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto: 3rd Movement

Sarah Chang's jaw-dropping performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto ends with the third movement, the 7-minute allegretto.

Festival Musical de Santo Domingo 2011 | 12 de marzo | Brahms — Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang Plays the Festival Musical de Santo Domingo 2011

In this video, Sarah Chang travels to the Dominican Republic for a performance of Brahm's 77th opus, his violin concerto, accompanied by the fest

Phantasia - Highlights & Interview

Sarah Chang Plays "Phantasia"

"Phantasia" is a composition inspired by Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "The Phantom of the Opera," though Webber has his hand in this piece as we

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.

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