Korean-American violinist Sarah Chang, who will perform for Korean fans in a concert tour marking the 20th anniversary of her debut album, said Thursday she was able to keep up her two decade-long music career without any breaks because she "just didn't have the time to fall into a slump."
"With the series of ongoing performances, my condition always has to be up to a certain level, so I just didn't have the time to fall into a slump or worry about things" the violin virtuoso told reporters at a Seoul press conference.
"These days, especially, I am the one to make decisions about which music I'll play or the people I'll perform with, so I take personal responsibility for all of my work and try to think positive thoughts, focusing on today and tomorrow's performances instead of previous ones."
Chang, who has been playing the violin since age four, is widely recognized as a one-time child prodigy as well as a musical role model after her debut performance with renowned conductor Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic when she was just eight years old.
Chang arrived in Seoul Wednesday evening for a cross-Korea concert tour in December that will feature personally selected pieces including T. A. Vitali's "Chaconne in G Minor for Violin and Piano," J. S. Bach's "Air on the G String," S. Prokofiev's "Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major Op. 94," as well as a new arrangement of L. Bernstein's "West Side Story" by American composer David Newman.
"I included all the pieces that I have always loved. Recital programs usually follow a specific theme, but this time, with Italian, Russian, German and American pieces, it will be a sort of 'united nations' program," the 31-year-old said.
In her Dec. 1 through 16 tour, which will be her first in the country in three years, Chang will be joined by British pianist Ashley Wass, whom she has worked with in previous recitals.
"I'm sure we'll be a good musical match as I've performed with him before," she said. "I've known him since a while back through a mutual friend. It's his first time in South Korea, and he says he is looking forward to seeing the country and eating Korean food."
Along with the recital, Chang is also looking to release a box set album of 20 CDs to celebrate her 20 years with the EMI Group, the London-based record company she has exclusively worked with since her debut.
"My grandfather once told me that CDs can freeze a moment in time, and I've made it a point to take recording sessions very seriously as a way to document my musical growth," the artist said of her two decades of recording with EMI.
"I still love CDs since I'm old-fashioned," she added. "I love their round shapes, and I also enjoy reading and making the booklets for the CD albums. That's why I'm releasing a box set of CDs instead of a digital album. I feel very good about that."
When asked what kind of music she would like to feature on future albums, Chang said she is looking into more popular types of music with a brighter atmosphere that are not as serious as the ones she has mostly played until now.
"I'm hoping to try out pieces that I haven't worked on before. Practicing new pieces like the 'West Side Story' was very interesting in that I could work with a living composer in creating the music, so I'd like to do more of that," she said.
Chang has performed with major orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic and the principal London orchestras. She has also worked with some of the world's top conductors including Mariss Jansons, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Colin Davis and Charles Dutoit.
In 1999, Chang was selected as one of three women to be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize for musicians and in 2004 became the youngest person ever to receive the Hollywood Bowl's Hall of Fame award. (Yonhap)