Elmira Darvarova & Zhen Chen

Biography Elmira Darvarova & Zhen Chen

Elmira Darvarova
Grammy®-nominated recording artist, a concert violinist since the age of 4, and an award-winning performer (GOLD MEDAL at the Global Music Awards in 2017 and 2018), Elmira Darvarova caused a sensation, becoming the first ever (and so far only) female concertmaster in the history of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. With the MET Orchestra she toured Europe, Japan and the United States, and was heard on the MET's live weekly international radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, CDs and laser discs on the Sony, Deutsche Grammophon and EMI labels. As concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera she has performed with the greatest conductors of our time, including the legendary Carlos Kleiber.

She studied with Yfrah Neaman at the Guildhall School in London (as a British Council scholar), with Josef Gingold at Indiana Universtiy in Bloomington (as one of his assistants), and, privately, with Henryk Szeryng.

An award-winning artist (Gold Medal at the 2017 & 2018 Global Music Awards, Gold Quill Award by Classic FM Radio, and the Boris Christoff Medal), Elmira Darvarova can be heard on numerous CDs, recorded for several labels (recent releases include the world premiere recording of Vernon Duke's violin concerto with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, and a CD with world-premiere recordings of chamber music by René de Castéra, named by the prestigious British publication MusicWeb International a RECORD OF THE YEAR 2015. Several of her albums have been selected as Record of the Month by MusicWeb-International. Her CDs have won critical acclaim in such esteemed publications as The Strad, Gramophone, Fanfare, American Records Guide, BBC Music Magazine.

She has appeared in recitals and as soloist on five continents, and has performed concertos with the Moscow State Symphony, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Grant Park Symphony, the Columbus Symphony and with numerous orchestras on three continents. She has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages, such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer/ David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Symphony Space in New York; Symphony Hall in Chicago, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto; Suntory Hall, Bunka Kaikan and NHK Hall in Tokyo; Musikverein in Vienna, Cadogan Hall in London, Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, Koncerthuset in Stockholm, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Smetana Hall in Prague, Megaron in Athens, Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Kölner Philharmonie, Mumbai's National Center for Performing Arts, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, among many others. She has given recitals and master classes at many festivals and at many music schools worldwide. Well-versed not only in opera, symphonic and chamber music repertoire, she performs and records in many other genres and styles, including tango, jazz, blues, folk, world music, contemporary/ electronic music, Stroh violin, and Indian Ragas. She has partnered for chamber music performances with James Levine, Janos Starker, Gary Karr, Pascal Rogé, Vassily Lobanov, with tango and jazz legends such as Octavio Brunetti, Fernando Otero and David Amram, and with world-renowned Indian classical musicians - the superstars of the Sarod - Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan & Ayaan Ali Bangash, with whom she recorded a trilogy of CD albums, based on traditional Indian Ragas (released in the United States, and separately, on the Indian sub-continent).

She has recorded 2 CDs of Baroque music (world-premiere recordings) with the world's most renowned double bassist Gary Karr, and she has performed with him Bottesini's Gran Duo Concertante in the United States and Canada.

She has also recorded 3 CDs of music by Astor Piazzolla, two of them with the late great tango pianist and arranger Octavio Brunetti (named by the New York Philharmonic "the inheritor of Piazzolla's mantle"), and she has performed in a duo with Octavio Brunetti at festivals in the US and Europe. ...

Zhen Chen
Hailed as “brilliant” by Fanfare Magazine, multi-award winning pianist-composer Zhen Chen has performed as a soloist and chamber music artist at prominent music venues in USA and China, such as Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall of Lincoln Center, Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, and China National Centre for Performing Arts. His live performances and recordings have been broadcasted by Chicago WFMT 98.7, Princeton WPRB 103.3, WCNY Classic FM and China Central Television Music Channel among others.

Mr. Chen has worked with prominent violinists Maxim Vengerov, Cho-Liang Lin, Elmira Darvarova and outstanding instrumentalists of the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera in concert and recording engagements. His debut recording FAURÉ, SCHUMANN, BARTÓK Sonatas for Violin and Piano (MSR Classics, 2014) in collaboration with acclaimed violinist Shuai Shi has received plaudits from listeners and critics worldwide. Fanfare Magazine describes the recording as “inexpressibly beautiful” and a “perfect balance” with “sheer beauty of tone, fluent and fluid playing, and emotional refinement.”

Mr. Chen also wears another hat as a performer-composer who bridges Eastern and Western sensibility and musicality. His recent cross-culture and cross-genre composition works were crystalized in the albums ERGO: New Music for Piano and Chinese Folk Instruments (Navona/Naxos, 2017) and On & Between: New Music for Pipa and Western Ensembles (Navona/Naxos, 2018). The latter won the Gold Medal of Global Music Awards for Best Show top honor, Best Album and Best Instrumentalists.

Mr. Chen received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and a master’s degree in piano performance under Dr. Arkady Aronov at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he also earned a master’s degree in collaborative piano and chamber music with Heasook Rhee.

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