It has been announced that pianist Moye Chen has been signed up for an exclusive recording contract with Universal Music Australia. The Chinese virtuoso won the George Frederick Boyle Prize at the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia where his bravura technique caught the eyes and ears of the judges, while his warm stage persona proved enormously popular with the audiences as well. Overall Chen was placed third behind the Russians Andrey Gugnin and Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev.
“When I first heard Moye’s audition tape for the Sydney International Piano Competition, the hair on the back of my neck prickled as he launched into Rachmaninov’s Second Sonata,” said Piers Lane, the Competition’s Artistic Director. “I’m thrilled that he has been signed to Decca. His music making is excitingly distinctive and communicative, with an overarching feel for phrase and structure, inevitability, glorious tone – and his python hands seem to encompass whatever they are required to swallow!”
Moye Chen at the 15th Sydney International Piano Competition
The Beijing-born 33-year-old’s Sydney performances also attracted the attention of Cyrus Meher-Homji, General Manager of Classics and Jazz at Universal Music Australia. “I was mesmerised by Moye Chen’s performances of Rachmaninov’s Second Sonata, his enormous grasp of the architecture of the Liszt Sonata, as well as his ultra-sensitivity with pieces like Grainger’s Ramble on Rosenkavalier,” he said. “[Moye Chen] is not just another top-ranking pianist. He is a musician of deep sensitivity and soul, with technical facility to burn. He needs to be noticed and he deserves the greatest success.”
A Kawai artist, Chen graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music before relocating to the US where he received his Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He is currently working toward his doctorate at the University of Illinois. Chen carried off the Gold Medal in the 2014 Cincinnati World Piano Competition and was a highly popular pianist at the 2015 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He has also found time to perform with several of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Mariinsky, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Beijing and Shanghai Symphony.
Among the Sydney judges, Sa Chen singled him out for praise, describing him as “an absolutely true artist! Soulful, intelligent, and creative,” while Mira Yevtich said that “Moye’s phenomenal talent and artistry are rarely seen, and he is a master of communicating through music… This young artist is blessed with exceptional technique, brilliant sound, consummate music, and fascinating personality, which remind me of those legendary piano masters of the 20th century.”
Chen’s broad-based repertoire includes solo keyboard works from Bach through the great Classical composers (he plays the complete sonatas of Mozart) and Romantics like Lizst. On into the 20th century he plays solo repertoire by Hindemith and Corigliano and concertos by Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. Other composers he enjoys include Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Franck and Ravel.
His Decca Classics debut, due for release in 2018, couples a pair of composer-pianists who might not strike you as obvious bedfellows, yet like Chen both were American émigrés – Percy Grainger and Sergei Rachmaninov. “Moye is a dynamic and evocative pianist both on and off the stage and we look forward to working with him to bring his unique artistry to the global stage,” said George Ash, President of Universal Music Asia-Pacific. “Moye joins an incredible roster at the famous Decca label and will add his own personality to this great heritage.”