Sarah Chang’s journey from child prodigy to classical music master |

Sarah Chang’s journey from child prodigy to classical music master

Daily staff report
Despite her early start in the world of classical music, Sarah Chang's passion has never waned. The powerful violin player makes her Beaver Creek debut Monday, March 12.
Photos by Colin Bell |

if you go ...

What: Sarah Chang performs.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.

When: Monday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.

Cost: Tickets start at $45 for adults and $25 for students.

More information: Visit

Classical music fans know Sarah Chang as the violinist who made an astonishing debut with the New York Philharmonic when she was just 8 years old.

What many don’t know is that she loves Beyonce, and has even gotten a few ideas for her own performances from seeing the pop star in concert many times.

“I am one of her biggest, most obsessive fans,” Chang said. “I’m incredibly impressed with the order of her songs. I’m interested in programming. What’s different is that (I’m) doing a solid concerto that’s 35 minutes, where she’s doing a whole series of two to five-minute songs — and of course her outfits are the bomb. Everything is really beautiful and artistic.”

A special concert with a ‘more chamber music feel’

“Everywhere else I go people are always rushing, but nobody is in a rush [here]. People in Colorado know how to enjoy life — good food or good music or whatever it is — I love that.”Sarah Chang

Chang has no shortage of obsessive fans herself.

Following her impressive entrance onto the classical music scene at a young age, Chang has performed with orchestras around the globe and is considered one of the best violinists in the world.

The musician will play a special Sarah Chang presents Viva Piazzolla concert at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Monday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $45 for adults and $25 for students and are available at the Vilar Center box office, by calling 970-845-8497 or visiting

For her concert at the Vilar Center, Chang will play “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” by Astor Piazzolla, excerpts from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Vitali’s “Chaconne.” Unlike most of her other concerts, Chang will be performing with a small handful of musicians, not a full orchestra.

“This is the first time I’m bringing my own group,” Chang said. “(The concert will have) a more chamber music feel, without a conductor. I love Piazzolla’s ‘Four Seasons.’ I’m completely, totally in love with this piece. It’s a ‘Four Seasons’ remake from the original Vivaldi, so I thought it would make sense to put both on the program. The ‘Chaconne’ is a looser, more tango-inspired remake of the original Vivaldi.”

‘A different form of music-making’

Compared to performing with a full orchestra, Chang is excited about the “freedom” she’ll have when playing these pieces during the concert.

“With something like Piazzolla’s ‘Four Seasons,’ when you have a smaller, more intimate group like that, you can really pay close attention to the small, more minute details,” Chang said. “Because you’re not swamped by other musicians, every little pin drop is heard. It’s a different form of music-making.”

A powerful violin player who hits every note

When you begin your super successful career as a classical violinist at the age of 8, it’s natural to consider a change later in life. Like, oh, say, when you’re 17.

“When I was about 17, I got a little tired,” Chang said. “Tired of flying every week, not having a quote-unquote ‘regular childhood.’ I asked for three months off — (but) honestly I got so bored about a month in. This lifestyle, it can be pretty addicting. You complain about living out of a suitcase, but it becomes such a part of your system. I’m still trying to find a better balance.”

Despite her early start, Chang’s passion for classical music has never waned.

“With classical music, I personally think it’s the most honest form of music-making that’s out there,” Chang said. “We play live. We don’t lip sync. We don’t have fancy lazers or light shows. We’re really just playing live. We’re not even miked. In my opinion, it’s the most honest form of music making.”

Chang may admire Beyonce’s performance skills, but she doesn’t need a sparkling costume, a multimedia backdrop or a whole row of backup dancers to wow a crowd.

As the masterful musician she is, Chang has the ability to draw you in with just a few strokes on the strings of her violin.

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