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Biography

Chinese-born violinist Jiafeng Chen has achieved remarkable acclaim in classical music. At the young age of 16, he won 1st Prize at the prestigious Wieniawski International Competition for Young Violinists in Poland, along with additional accolades from the European Union Music Competition and the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music. His early success continued with a 2nd Prize at the Jean Sibelius International Violin Competition in Helsinki in 2008. Chen's impressive list of honours also includes 2nd Prize at the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition in the U.K., a Laureate title from the Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition in Brussels, and the esteemed Paganini Prize at the Indianapolis International Violin Competition in the USA.

 

Chen's foundational training took place under Professors Peter Shixiang Zhang, Jiyang Zhao, and Lei Fang at the Primary and Middle Schools affiliated with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He then moved to the UK to study with Professor Jan Repko at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal College of Music (RCM), where he earned a first-class Bachelor of Music Degree (Hons) and a Medal from the prestigious Worshipful Company of Musicians for his outstanding achievements. He furthered his education with a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in New York, studying with Professors Cho-Liang Lin and Ronald Copes.

 

Chen has been praised as “not only technically brilliant but also subtle, deeply felt and astonishingly mature” (Nottingham Evening Post); and “classically poised and flashy” (BBC). His career as a soloist has spanned all six continents, performing with renowned orchestras such as the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera National de Nancy, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Ukrainian National Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra (U.K.), amongst others. He has performed at major concert halls including the Finlandia Hall, Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Carnegie Hall. Chen has collaborated with notable musicians such as violinists David Chan and Cho-Liang Lin; cellist Gary Hoffman; and conductors Paavo Berglund, Paul Goodwin, Lorin Maazel, Paolo Olmi, Petri Sakari, John Storgårds and Gilbert Varga.

 

Chen's solo performances include concerts at Beijing International Chamber Music Festival, broadcasted by CCTV Music Channel, Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, Lake District Summer Music, BBC Proms in the UK (broadcasted by BBC Radio 3), Verbier Festival in Switzerland (broadcasted by France Musique), Valdres Sommersymfoni in Norway, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest in the USA, and the opening gala of the Menuhin Violin Competition. He has also performed as a guest concertmaster with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

 

In addition to his musical achievements, Jiafeng Chen has supported various humanitarian causes. Following the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, he organised recitals in the UK and Italy, raising over £4800 to support scholarships for students from Sichuan. He has performed at fundraising events for the British Red Cross, the English National Opera, the Dance Umbrella International Festival and the Royal College of Music. In 2019, he travelled to South Africa with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as part of the “ARCO” music education project. He also regularly supports local projects associated with Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society.

 

After graduating from The Juilliard School, Jiafeng Chen was appointed a violin professor at the Royal College of Music in London, where his students have frequently won music competitions. He also teaches at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Wycombe Abbey. Demonstrating his passion for music research, he earned a Master of Science degree with distinction in Performance Science from the Royal College of Music in 2023. He is currently a DPhil student at the University of Oxford.

Jiafeng Chen plays a Nicolo Gagliano violin (Naples, 1751) kindly on loan from a generous group of owners.

Updated in June 2024

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