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Born in China, Chen Sa grew up in a musical family. She received her first violin lesson at the age of 6 and started her piano lessons with Dan Zhaoyi at age of 9. She appeared as the youngest contestant at the age of 16 at the 12th2 Leeds International Piano Competition and won the 4th prize. The year after, she received a full scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Joan Havill in London. In 2000, she has won the 4th prize and the Best Polonaise Performance Award at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and received the Crystal Award at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the year of 2005. In 2007 she graduated from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover (class of Arie Vardi).
Chen Sa has performed with many prestigious orchestras, some of which are: the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, NHK Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and with renowned conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Yuri Simonov, Myung-whun Chung, Semyon Bychkov, Fabio Luisi, Vasily Petrenko, Long Yu among many others. As an enthusiastic chamber musician, Chen Sa frequently collaborates with many great musicians.
She appeared with Gidon Kremer and Natalie Gutman on many tours and music festivals including the prestigious Schleswig Holstein Festival, the Ruhr Piano Festival in Germany, the Lockenhaus Music Festival in Austria and the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France. Chen Sa recorded her first studio album Chopin Impression for JVC in 2001, and later the Chopin complete Waltzes for IMC in Japan in 2006. Harmonia Mundi released her live performance recording from the Van Cliburn competition worldwide in 2005. Her albums with PentaTone include Chopin: The 2 Piano Concertos and Russian Solo Compositions released in 2008 and 2009 respectively. An album with Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto was released in 2011.
In 2009 Chen Sa was named as one of the “Top ten Chinese Artists” by the French magazine L’Officiel. In October 2016, Chen Sa was invited to give the world premiere performance of the new piano concerto Xinqiban (“New Start”) written by the composer Julian Yu and commissioned by the China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
In the 2018–19 season, Chen Sa is giving recitals in Italy, France, Singapore, China
and other countries, and is making her debut at the Salzburg, as well as returning
to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London to give master-classes. In September,
Chen Sa was invited to be on the jury of the prestigious Leeds International Piano