Vanessa-mae

Biography

The beautiful young violinist Vanessa-Mae was just in her mid-teens when she shattered the mold of the classical virtuoso with the release of her first fusion album The Violin Player, forging a new style that has made her a multi-million-selling worldwide phenomenon and the breakthrough artist who virtually defined the fusion of classical and pop that became known as crossover. At the age of 25, she has been a superstar for a decade. Now she makes her Sony Classical debut and marks a new musical direction with the release of Choreography, a highly original album that celebrates dance rhythms from around the world. Original pieces and fresh arrangements have been created for the album by the Oscar-winning Vangelis, Bill Whelan of Riverdance, Indian film composer A.R. Rahman (the musical Bombay Dreams) and Tolga Kashif (The Queen Symphony), amongst others. Choreography will be released internationally in September 2004 and in the U.S. in early 2005.

Vanessa-Mae brings to this project the experience of a classical violin prodigy who was well into a major international concert career when she was barely in her teens. The success of The Violin Player justified a bold creative gamble she wanted to take - a new synthesis of classical and pop sounds that would tap a broad and enthusiastic international audience as surely as it would raise the hackles of tradition-bound classical critics. The albums that followed confirmed this success - worldwide sales have topped 8 million units so far, earning more than 40 international platinum awards - making her a superstar for whom there seem to be no musical limits. Vanessa-Mae has collaborated with such pop legends as Janet Jackson and Prince, performed on the soundtrack of the Disney animated feature Mulan, played Bach for the British Royal Family on the 250th anniversary of the composer's death, fiddled as she modeled a wedding dress on the runway of a Jean-Paul Gualtier fashion show in Paris, and reached out to the children of the South African township of Soweto, the first international artist to be invited to its music school. Her stunning presence only adds to her appeal. People magazine has voted Vanessa-Mae one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World," and FHM named her one of "The World's 100 Most Beautiful Women."

Born in Singapore on October 27, 1978 - she shares a birthday with the first international violin superstar, Niccol? Paganini - Vanessa-Mae moved to London with her family when she was four, began classical violin studies the following year and made her professional debut on the international stage at the 1988 Schleswig-Holstein Festival in 1988, the same year she made her concerto debut in the U.K. with London's Philharmonia Orchestra. Her classical career was a prodigy's dream - the youngest violinist ever to record the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven violin concertos, a world tour with the London Mozart Players during the Mozart bicentennial year, great reviews from international critics - and she had three classical albums to her credit when she was only 13 years old. It was her interest in new arrangements for violin of her favorite classical melodies that led Vanessa-Mae to seek more than the traditional repertoire could offer. The result of that quest was The Violin Player and the string of successful crossover discs that followed.

An explosive live performer, Vanessa-Mae stars in an intensive touring program that has taken her around the world several times over. She has visited over 50 countries, including performances in many spectacular venues such as the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, the Acropolis in Athens, an outdoor pyrotechnic extravaganza in Dubai, and stadiums in Beijing and Shanghai. Beyond the bounds of typical concert venues, Vanessa-Mae is constantly bringing music to new places and new people. She was the first foreign performer invited to play the U.S. national anthem at Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park in Chicago. She did the same at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail, Colorado, where she performed two concerts, one of classical and the other of fusion music. She has performed at the Ajax arena in Amsterdam to a football crowd numbering 60,000, provided the climax to the International Go-Karting championships in Helsinki, and performed at the opening race of the F1 Grand Prix season in Melbourne. She also performed as featured artist at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Para Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Vanessa-Mae also has appeared in many rock festivals the world over, including shows with Michael Jackson, one of which saw her carried aloft by the ecstatic crowd at the end of her performance. She made her U.S. debut in Times Square, when she hopped spontaneously onto a passing yellow taxi, in the climax to a live performance seen all over the world. She gave the first-ever concert on the famed frozen lake of St. Moritz in Switzerland, making a spectacular entrance by delta-gliding down to the stage from a 2400m mountain. She performed exclusively for the 26 heads of Asian-European governments as well as Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family at the official closing of the asem2 Conference at Buckingham Palace.

Vanessa-Mae was the only foreign artist invited by the Chinese to perform at the pivotal moment of Reunification of Hong Kong to China at midnight. She also opened the first ever Classical Brit Awards as well as the MTV Asia Awards. She is passionately involved in charity work as well. Through her close links with the Red Cross, Vanessa-Mae has visited the organization's field units in Kenya and Cambodia, participated in one of its TV ad campaigns and given several fund-raising performances.

The worldwide embrace of Vanessa-Mae is a compliment returned in her new Sony Classical album Choreography. The music draws its inspiration from the rhythms and pulses of dance cultures from around the world - the Argentinean tango, the Spanish bolero, the tribal dances of Africa, the complex allure of Indian music - and creates a new challenge for the remarkable young beauty who changed forever the way audiences hear the violin.
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