Lang Lang gets a partner

Lang Lang gets a partner


norman lebrecht

March 22, 2010

The Sony label, which paid $3 million to snatch Lang Lang from Deutsche Grammophon a few weeks ago, has swooped again to sign the violinist Ray Chen, winner of the latest Queen Elisabeth competition in Belgium.

Chen, 21, was born in Taiwan, raised in Australia and schooled at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. He is represented by the same CAMI management as Lang Lang and will play a limelight concert at the opening of the World expo in Shanghai, mainland China, this summer – much as Lang Lang did at the Olympics.

Ray Chen is, by all accounts, a highly promising young artist. But his signing confirms the general direction of Sony’s classical strategy. A label that shed all of its conductors and all but handful of instrumentalists is now headlined by Lang Lang, Yo Yo Ma and Ray Chen, three artists from the same country – which is the market the Japanese label is pitching for.

In a signing-day statement Ray Chen said: “I am very excited to become a Sony Classical artist and I am looking forward to this wonderful collaboration. Our joint mission is to capture the excitement, passion, and life in a performance of the finest quality and to bring them to the audiences worldwide”.