Only 23 years old, Taiwanese Australian violin virtuoso Ray Chen is on a sharply ascending career path; winner of both the Queen Elizabeth and Yehudi Menuhin competitions, he has acquired a Stradivarius and is recording for Sony Classical. On Friday evening he gave a very good recital at the Australian Embassy, presented by the Embassy Series, a movable feast of concerts held at various embassies around town.
Notwithstanding his many gifts and accomplishments, Chen is still a developing artist. He possesses what cannot be taught: a sense of ease and fun onstage, a very keen ear and a fluid technique that dismisses any difficulty on the instrument. But his tone is not completely natural; his left hand isn’t rounded and relaxed, and the vibrato tightens in loud passages. In the otherwise dazzling Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saëns, he never actually produced a spiccato stroke, the bow pretty much staying on the string.