Introducing… Laure Chan

Q Who is Laure Chan?

I am a British Franco-Chinese violinist and composer born
and based in London.

As a performer, I enjoy a varied career as a soloist and ensemble player, having performed in renowned concert halls throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and America. I have toured with ensembles including the Chineke! Orchestra, London Contemporary Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with conductors such as Sir Roger Norrington, Marin Alsop and Gustavo Dudamel. I recently also made my solo debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in December 2023.

Beyond the traditional classical realm, I have performed with Ed Sheeran and Stormzy at The Brit Awards, Tyler, The Creator, Max Richter, Yussef Dayes and Sigur Rós; I have also collaborated with names in the fashion industry such as Claudie Pierlot, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Vivienne Westwood and Vogue.

In the last few years, I have developed a great interest in composition and am passionate about exploring new horizons through combining my classical background with inspirations from multiple genres and cultures. Since 2019, I have been independently releasing EPs and albums featuring original music and works of the classical repertoire, such as my debut album Tribute to Bach, released in 2021.

As of this issue, I will have just released my second album Schumann Violin Concerto, recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the Sinfonia Perdita conducted by Daniel Hogan. The album is centred around compassion and humanity and connects two works depicting deep inner turmoil; the recording also features an original composition called Lost in Translation, written for
four violins.

Q What inspired you to pursue a career in music, and what influenced your unique style?

At the age of four, I was enrolled in a string programme for children at the Royal Academy of Music called the First Strings Experience. A year later, I began the violin, and it soon became apparent that I was passionate about music. At nine years old, I heard Maxim Vengerov (my idol at the time) perform a recital at the Barbican. I was mesmerised by his virtuosity and charismatic stage presence, and after that concert, I decided I wanted to become a violinist.

During my studies at the Royal College of Music, I delved into Baroque and Classical styles on period instruments which influenced my stylistic choices within my classical approach complimentary to my modern playing. Furthermore, coming from a multicultural background, it feels natural to keep an open and curious mind, and I have been influenced by a variety of styles ranging from jazz, Latin and folk/classical music of Celtic, Chinese, Indian and Arabic origins.

Q What are your aspirations for your career, and how do you envision your role in the music industry?

I wish to keep creating new recordings and artistic concepts, performing both in major concert halls, but equally in intimate and alternative spaces, and writing new music. I intend to stay true to both my Western classical roots and traditions, whilst embracing my cultural origins and exploring further diversity in my creative projects.

As part of a new generation of emerging artists, I believe it is our responsibility to think of personal and innovative ways in making classical music more approachable to younger and more diverse audiences. Beyond the concert hall, I have enjoyed organising events and participating in festivals with artists in unconventional spaces such as cafe’s, restaurants, pubs and even a wool shop (I love arts and crafts)! I have noticed that through performing in these spaces and keeping an open mind, artists can reach wider audiences. In recent years, I have written and implemented original compositions alongside staple Western classical and contemporary works, and traditional Chinese folk music, and I believe that through the means of composition and creative programming, I can continue to explore and feature a variety of styles and cultures that can resonate with audiences who are classically inclined and beyond.

Q Can you tell us about your upcoming projects
and collaborations?

March is album release month for me, so I am still in the process of performing works both live and on radio from my latest album release. In the following months I have a variety of performances in the UK and Europe ranging from solo performances of Brahms and Prokofiev violin concertos, original works in collaboration, chamber music and orchestral performances with the Chineke! Orchestra.

Later in the year, I hope to set aside more time to dedicate towards new compositions as I have many performance and recording projects in mind, including a collaboration with both Western classical and Chinese traditional instruments.

Q What does your dream invite look like?

It is hard to pick just one as there are so many venues I would love to perform at. For now, seeing as I am London-based and have performed in most of the major concert halls in my home city, Wigmore Hall is still one of my favourite venues in the world where I have not yet performed. I would love to programme a diverse range of works reflecting my musical and cultural influences.

Beyond this, the Musikverein in Vienna, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in New York have been on my dream list for years!

Q How do you see yourself contributing to the classical music landscape in the coming years?

As a performer and composer, my musical interests allow for more collaboration with a variety of musicians from different styles and cultural backgrounds. Beyond continuing to perform staple works of the classical repertoire, I want to continue exploring the realms of film music and classical music from ancient traditions following the Silk Road, thus expanding my musical experience both live and on recording.

IAM was in conversation with violinist Laure Chan. 

For more information about her latest release, Schumann
Violin Concerto
, visit www.laurechan.com