20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Violinist Sarah Chang

Classic Arts Features   20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Violinist Sarah Chang
In this installment of our informal Q&A series, former violin prodigy/current violin phenom Sarah Chang contributes thoughts, favorites and opinions on matters musical and otherwise. Her latest album with EMI serves up concertos by Brahms and Bruch.


Once one of the classical music world's most remarkable prodigies, violinist Sarah Chang is now a widely-celebrated artist of international prominence, performing with leading orchestras and conductors around the world. She is also a busy recitalist and chamber music collaborator, performing the latter with some of the great artists of our time.

An exclusive EMI Classics recording artist for nearly 20 years (she recorded her first album in 1991 at age ten!), Chang's new recording for the label, released in October, pairs one of her all-time favorite concertos, that by Brahms, with one by Bruch _ both recorded with the maestro she calls her "musical godfather," Kurt Masur.

1. A few works of classical music that you adore:

My top three favorite Violin Concertos of all time are Brahms, Sibelius and Shostakovich 1. I've now recorded all three of them! I love anything and everything Brahms wrote, all his Symphonies and chamber works included. I love Mahler and Rachmaninoff Symphonies and wish they had written works for the violin.

2. Classical music recordings that you treasure:

All the Maria Callas recordings on EM; and all the David Oistrakh recordings _ absolute gems.

3. Favorite non-classical musicians and/or recordings:

Beyonc_, Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera. I LOVE to dance so I adore anything Latin and salsa-inspired.

4. Music that makes you cry _ any genre:

Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. It's that whole Russian, romantic, tug-on-your-heartstrings kind of lyricism that just makes me want to bawl.

5. Definitely underrated work(s) or composer (s):

I can't think of any that stand out. Even if a work is slightly underrated, if I love it, I program it and perform it!

6. Possibly overrated work(s) or composer (s):

There is no such thing, in my opinion!

7. Live music performance (s) you attended _ any genre _ that you'll never forget:

Pinchas Zukerman's Beethoven Violin Concerto concert in Zurich. This was way back in the early 1990's. I sat there in the audience with my jaw on the floor. The most magical performance I've ever experienced. I went to Rihanna's London concert at the O2 last year which was loads of fun, and I loved the Black Eyed Peas concert I went to several years ago as well.

8. A few relatively recent films you love:

The Reader; Slumdog Millionaire; Confessions of a Shopaholic; I LOVE movies and go to the cinema all the time, regardless of whichever city or country I'm in!

9. A few films you consider classics:

Breakfast at Tiffany's; My Fair Lady; Gone with the Wind; Casablanca, all the Godfather movies.

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10. A book (or two) that is important to you (and why):

The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve. It shows how you can never really know a person. Black Cab, by John McLaren. I always forget that black cabs in London all have microphones and that book reminded me of that!

11. Thing(s) about yourself that you're most proud of:

I'm a good sister (I also have the best little brother in the world so he makes it easy.) I'm also a really fiercely loyal friend to those I love.

12. Thing(s) about yourself that you're embarrassed by:

I can't cook to save my life. I'm also a really lousy driver. I shouldn't be allowed to drive.

13. Three things you can't live without:

My Blackberry, lipgloss, and high heels!

14. "When I want to get away from it all I..."

Call my Mom and de-stress.

15. "People are surprised to find out that I..."

...have been in the music business for almost 20 years and I'm still only in my 20s!!

16. "My favorite cities are..."

NYC, London, and any city in Italy.

17. "I have a secret crush on..."

This one might get me into trouble!

18. "My most obvious guilty pleasure is..."

Shoes! I have an insane collection! And concert dresses. I'm a girly girl. I love to shop.

19. "I'd really love to meet..."

Oprah. I think she's fabulous.

20. "I never understood why..."

People go to war. It solves nothing. Period.


21. Question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer to that question):

Nope! I've found that people aren't shy when it comes to asking questions and they ask anyway!


Visit www.sarahchang.com

Past installments of 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS:

Pianist Ingrid Fliter

Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato

Pianist Yefim "Fima" Bronfman

Soprano Sandrine Piau

Soprano Natalie Dessay

Harpsichordist and Conductor Christophe Rousset

Guitarist Xuefei Yang

Tenor Giuseppe Filianoti

Soprano Nicole Cabell

Pianist Jonathan Biss

Tenor Ian Bostridge

Soprano Danielle de Niese

New-Music Sextet eighth blackbird

Composer and Violinist Mark O'Connor

Composer Jake Heggie

Composer Ricky Ian Gordon

Pianist David Greilsammer


Albert Imperato, a music promoter who co-founded 21C Media Group in January 2000, writes frequently about the arts for various publications and blogs.

His new series, 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS, is his take on (and nod to) Vanity Fair's "Proust Questionnaire."

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