Ray Chen.

Ray Chen.

Olympic Music Festival hosts recital in its finale

Concerts set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday

PORT TOWNSEND — The season finale of the Olympic Music Festival will feature world-renowned violinist Ray Chen with festival artistic director Julio Elizalde at the piano in a recital of both classics and newly imagined arrangements.

The duo offers two chances to hear the program, Saturday and Sunday at Fort Worden State Park’s Wheeler Theater. Doors will open at 1:15 p.m. while the concerts will start at 2 p.m.

Adult tickets are $60 and student tickets are $15. Find tickets and information online at www. olympic music festival.org, or call for assistance at 360-385-9699.

Chen “redefines what it means to be a classical musician in the 21 century,” organizers said.

“With a global reach that enhances and inspires a new classical audience, Chen’s remarkable musicianship transmits to millions, through engagements online and with the foremost orchestras and concert halls around the world,” they said.

Initially attracting attention via the Yehudi Menuhin (2008) and Queen Elisabeth (2009) competitions, of which he was first-prize winner, he has built a profile in Europe, Asia, and the United States, as well as in his native Australia, both live and on disc.

In 2020, Chen cofounded Tonic, an independent startup that aims to motivate musicians and learners around the world to practice their craft together.

“Available to download for iOS and Android devices, the app has made Chen a pioneer in how artists interact with their audience, taking advantage of the new opportunities afforded by modern technology,” organizers said.

Chen is an ambassador for Sony Electronics and a music consultant for Riot Games, an esports company best known for League of Legends, and has been featured in Vogue magazine.

He released his own design of a violin case for the industry manufacturer GEWA and plays Thomastik Infeld strings. His self-produced videos combine comedy, education and music.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Chen was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music when he was 15. There he studied with Aaron Rosand and was supported by Young Concert Artists. He plays the 1714 “Dolphin” Stradivarius violin on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. This instrument was once owned by the famed violinist Jascha Heifetz.

The Olympic Music Festival celebrated its 40th season this summer.

In addition to performances, it hosts the two-week Olympic Chamber Music Fellowship program for young musicians embarking on professional careers.

New in 2023 is a Junior Fellows program, where OMF Fellows teach a masterclass for talented local high school students while receiving feedback on their own teaching.

The Olympic Music Festival was founded by violist Alan Iglitzin of the Philadelphia String Quartet in 1984. In 2015, Iglitzin officially retired, and the Olympic Music Festival moved to Port Townsend.

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