CHEN Sa Pianist
Chinese Pianist CHEN Sa has established herself as one of the most charismatic pianists of her generation. She earned critical acclaims at Leeds, Chopin and Van Cliburn in her early teens, then began her professional performing career worldwide with her evocative playing.
Sa has performed with many prestigious orchestras, some of which are the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, WDR Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra; under the baton of Semyon Bychkov, Sir Simon Rattle, Yuri Simonov, Myung-Whun Chung, Fabio Luisi, Vasily Petrenko, YU Long, among many others.
Sa is enthusiastic to chamber music. She has played with many great musicians such as with Gidon Kremer and Natalie Gutman on tours, appeared in music festivals including the Schleswig Holstein Festival, the Rurl Piano Festival, Lockenhaus Music Festival and the Aix-en-Provence Festival and so on.
Up to nine audio albums till now, her very first studio album Chopin Impression for JVC was released worldwide in 2001 after her live recording of Chopin Concourse in Warsaw 2000, and later the Chopin Complete Waltzes for IMC was released in 2006.
Harmonia Mundi released her live recording of the Van Cliburn Competition worldwide in 2005; then her three albums with PentaTone was released, including Chopin Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2; Russian Piano Works of Mussorgsky Rachmaninoff, the concerto album of Rachmaninov's Concerto No. 2 and Grieg's Piano Concerto were all released worldwide between 2008 to 2011. Classical FM selected her Chopin Album as the “Best CD of the Month” for her “soulful performance ”, German critics Attila Csampai describes “… makes you feel the lyrical beauty, 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 playing..”
Her recent album with BIS the Memories Lost featuring modern Chinese compositions and a fresh experience with Chinese Instrumental Orchestra was released worldwide by BIS in 2015, described as “the most interesting and successful recording of new Chinese music so far...” by BBC Music Magazine.
In pursuance of wider and comprehensive creativity freedom, Sa and her office ATELIERSA Beijing came together with recording producer Johannes Mueller and Neri & Hu Design and Research Office, for her latest solo album featuring the complete 24 Preludes by Claude Debussy with a special graphic design for the whole but booklet visual works, presented in 2017. Mr. Mueller describes: “...to my ears without a doubt, of all my recent recordings this one sticks out for me, because Sa really meticulously worked out every nuance and every detail, while at the same time presenting the full range of both dynamics and colours - I really love it..!”
Sa was 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 10 Chinese Artists” and the Polish Government honoured the Chopin Art Passport to Sa in 2010, for her unique interpretation and achievement in Chopin’s music.
She gave the premiere performances of modern piano concertos, Xinqiban written in 2016 by Australian based Chinese composer Julian Yu. The first performance was in 2016 with NCPA Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Zhang Yi. She also premiered Piano Concerto by Chinese composer WANG Xilin with Basel Chamber Orchestra in 2013.
Aside from her regular performance schedule, Sa engages herself in charity work, too. She was involved with the project of World Bank and the Norwegian government to premiere the multimedia piano concerto Green Call and performed through out in China, as part of the environmental protection educational programme. She also appeared in Washington D.C. at the “Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day” event and performed to over few thousands of audiences.
In the 2018/19 season, Sa continued to concertize in Italy, France, U.S., Singapore, China and few highlights include debut in Salzburg Festival with Salzburg Orchestra Academy Solisten, performance of Mozart K 595, debut in St. Petersburg Piano Festival, and with Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Sir Antonio Pappano performing Beethoven 3rd Concerto in Beijing.
As Associate Artist, she returns to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London twice annually to give master classes and concerts for her educational activities.
Sa gradually appears as jury in the late Leeds International Piano Competition U.K., Busoni Concourse Bolzano Italy, and Sydney International Piano Competition.
Born in China, Sa grew up in a musical family. Her mother was a professional dancer and her father was a French horn player and keyboardist. She started to play violin at age of six and then started to have piano lesson from Prof. DAN Zhaoyi at age of nine. She won the fourth prizes as the youngest contestant at Leeds International Piano Competition in 1996 and the year after, she studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Prof. Joan Havill in London with full scholarship and received her Master’s Degree in Performance. In 2000, she won the Fourth and the Best Polonaise Performance Award at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and received the Crystal Award at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the year of 2005.
Sa studied and lived then in Arie Vardi’s Solo Class at Hannover Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Germany between 2001- 2007, and received PhD in Performance.