Sa Chen - Piano
Sa Chen has established herself as one of the most charismatic pianists of her generation. She earned critical acclaims at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1996, the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2000 and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2005 which began her professional performing career, bringing her evocative performances to audience around the world.
Sa has performed with many prestigious orchestras, some of which are: the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, NHK Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and with renowned conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Yuri Simonov, Myung-Whun Chung, Semyon Bychkov, Fabio Luisi, Vasily Petrenko, Long Yu among many others.
As an enthusiastic chamber musician, Sa frequently collaborates with many great musicians. She appeared with Gidon Kremer and Natalie Gutman on many tours and music festivals including the prestigious Schleswig Holstein Festival, the Rurl Piano Festival in Germany, the Lockenhaus Music Festival in Austria and the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France.
Sa recorded her first studio album Chopin Impression for JVC in 2001, and later the Chopin complete Waltzes for IMC in Japan in 2006. Harmonia Mundi released her live performance recording from the Van Cliburn competition worldwide in 2005. Her albums with PentaTone include Chopin: The 2 Piano Concertos and Russian Solo Compositions released in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Classical FM selected her Chopin Album as the “Best CD of the Month” for her “soulful performance”. The concerto album, Rachmaninov's Concerto No.2 and Grieg's Piano Concerto was released in 2011. German critics Attila Csampai describes “… makes you feel the lyrical beauty, but at the same time shows a volcanic “underground” and the enormous potential of desperation of the music. You can feel the inner pull, the sublime drama of Sa Chen’s play especially at the critical moments of the composition.” Her album Memories Lost featuring modern Chinese compositions has been released worldwide by BIS record in January 2015, described as “the most interesting and successful recording of new Chinese music..” by BBC Music Magazine. In pursuance of wider and comprehensive creativity freedom, Sa and her office Atelier Sa came together with recording producer Mr. Johannes Mueller and Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, for her latest solo album featuring the complete Preludes of Claude Debussy in the Autumn of 2017. The album has since received many critical acclaims.
Sa has been nominated for the esteemed Tokyo series “The 100 Greatest Pianists” and as the cover artist of the launching issue of Gramophone magazine Chinese edition, she was also named by the French magazine “L’OFFICIEL” as one of the “Top ten Chinese Artists”. During Chopin’s 200th year anniversary In 2010, the Polish Government honored the Chopin Art Passport to Sa, appreciating her unique interpretation and achievement in Chopin’s music.
In October 2016, Sa was invited to give the world premiere performance of the new piano concerto “Xinqiban” written by Australian based Chinese composer Julian Yu, commissioned by the China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. It also marks the second Chinese contemporary piano concerto Sa has premiered, preceded by Wang Xilin’s piano concerto in Switzerland.
Aside from her performance schedule, Sa engages herself in charity work too. She was invited by the World Bank and the Norwegian government to premiere the multimedia piano concerto Green Call with the China National Symphony Orchestra in Beijing as part of the environmental protection educational program; she also participated and performed in Washington, US as part of the “Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day”. She also visits and performs for the students at local Special schools in China.
Born in China, Sa grew up in a musical family. Her mother was a professional dancer and her father was a French horn player. She received her first violin lesson at the age of 6 and started her piano lessons with Prof. Dan Zhaoyi at age of 9. She appeared as the youngest contestant at the age of 16 at the 12th Leeds International Piano Competition and won the fourth prize. The year after, she received a full scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Prof. Joan Havill in London and received her Master’s Degree in Performance. In 2000, she has won the Fourth and the Best Polonaise Performance Award at the 14th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and received the Crystal Award at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the year of 2005. Sa graduated from Arie Vardi’s Solo Class at Hannover Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Germany in 2007, received PhD in Performance.