Greenwood-Lander Performing Arts’ 67th season gets under way Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m., in the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium, with an appearance by violin virtuoso Ray Chen.
The 24-year-old Chen, who began playing the violin at age four, won the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists in 2008 and the Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition in 2009. In 2012, he became the youngest soloist ever to perform in the Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm, Sweden.
Chen’s mastery of the violin is apparent in the instrument he plays, a Stradivarius violin made in 1702 by famed Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari. The instrument was given to him on a three-year loan by the Nippon Music Foundation.
Chen, who has recorded two critically acclaimed albums of classical music for the Sony Masterworks label, is at work on a third album, in which he interprets the music of Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The album is scheduled for release later this year.
Chen will be accompanied by American pianist Julio Elizalde, who has been praised by The New York Times for his “catlike ease” at the keyboard. They will play an ambitious program that includes selections by Mozart, Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and Spanish composer Pablo de Sarasate.
Tickets for the performance, sponsored by Elliott Davis, LLC, with the additional support of the South Carolina Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts and Lander University, are $35 for adults and $30 for students. Tickets can be purchased by calling the GLPA office at 864-388-8326, or by going to the GLPA website at www.greenwoodlanderperformingarts.com.
Chen will also teach a master class from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., on the day of his performance. Area middle and high school students interested in participating, who have had at least a year of training on a stringed musical instrument, should contact GLPA Outreach Program director Jackie Counts at the number given above.
GLPA executive director Cecily Ferguson described Chen as “a delightful young man and an unbelievable violinist.” She said she is thrilled to be able to bring a musician of his stature to Greenwood.
She encouraged area music enthusiasts to take advantage of what promises to be “a rare treat.”