The young classical superstar isn’t exactly a new phenomenon – think Mozart, Liszt or Mendelssohn – but if you think the hottest talents are getting younger and younger, you might just be right. This month we’ve decided it’s time to take stock. So who is the new breed of soloist and what makes them special? Here are our pick of 30 of the best, all of them, rather neatly, under the age of 30.
Ray Chen, violin
The 25-year-old Taiwanese-Australian violinist is without doubt one of the leading players of his generation. Born in Taipei, Chen began learning his instrument at the age of four and by the age of nine had completed all ten levels of the Suzuki Method in what was by now his home state of Queensland.
At the age of 13, he won first prize in the Australian National Youth Concerto Competition and was accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music by the time he was 15. He went on to win first prize at the 2008 Yehudi Menuhin Competition and was soon after signed to Sony. His Menuhin win brought him to the attention of Maxim Vengerov who gave him his Mariinsky Theatre debut soon afterwards....