Australian-Taiwanese classical pianist Belle Chen has won the 'Classical Music Rising Star Award' (sponsored by Classic FM) at the 2015 London Music Awards. The awards celebrate 'rising stars and established legends' on London's music scene, with Ray Davies taking the London Legend accolade on the same evening. Hosted by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the awards were judged by a panel including composer Errollyn Wallen, Jane Beese (Head of Contemporary Music at Southbank Centre), Margaret Liddie (Director of Events and Charities at BPI, the British Phonographic Industry), and Oliver Keens (editor of TimeOut magazine). Chen was also a featured performer at the award ceremony at London's Camden Roundhouse on 11 June 2015.
Born in Taiwan, Chen grew up in Australia, then relocated to London to complete her Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music and to seek a career as a performer. During her time in London, she developed a unique style of integrating classical music with sampled sound and other media in search of ways to present classical music suitably to contemporary audiences.
'I am very grateful to have been recognised by the Mayor of London as a Classical Music Rising Star', says Chen. 'There are so many talented young artists in London, and I am also very humbled. I am now very excited for the next stage in my journey.'
Prior to her London Music Awards win, Chen's fearlessly experimental recorded work Listen, London, combining classical music with sound design, was handpicked by Brian Eno and won the Curator's Choice Award at the 2014 UK Noise Festival. Eno praised Chen's work as 'original and provocative', stating that it 'feels like a sense of discovery'. Listen, London is available on Chen's own label, Eito Music, eitomusic.com, or from iTunes.
Chen is fast making herself known as an innovative and dynamic pianist on London's classical music scene, presenting classical music in non-traditional and collaborative contexts which challenge traditional presentations of classical music with multimedia, dancers, visual artists and actors. She recently toured the UK with fourteen performances in collaboration with physical theatre actors. Chen continues her busy schedule after the awards, including curating a three-night cross-platform festival involving a team of musicians, visual artists, actors and dancers at an East London gallery, performing at the Deal Festival, guest curating for the Royal Academy of Music Piano Festival, touring Taiwan in August, and releasing her next solo album in September.
Posted: 17 June 2015
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