Sarah Chang

 

If you looked up the phrase “child prodigy,” an image of violinist Sarah Chang would provide the perfect illustration. She was only 5 when accepted to the Juilliard School, and only 10 when she recorded her first album. At Juilliard, she remembers, “I was 6 and in the same class with students who were 16 or so. After class, they would all go out, and I was like, ‘What do I do now?’” It was anything but a normal childhood, she admits with a laugh, “but my parents tried really, really hard to give me a normal life; they put me in a normal school. I had two separate lives: on the road and on the stage, and at home.”

That separation applies today as well, with the now 38-year-old Chang playing in cities around the globe “and sampling the world’s cuisine,” she says, and then coming home to her beloved dog (“I miss him more than my family!)” and a regimen of Pilates and healthy eating to stay in top shape. “I missed out on some of the usual milestones growing up,” she says. “But what’s great is in the classical music world we schedule so far in advance that I can plan so I don’t miss out on things, like holidays. And everyone around me wants what’s best long-term for me, to avoid burnout.” In Sarasota for her first time performing with the Sarasota Orchestra Jan. 30-Feb. 2, she’ll play Dvorak’s Violin Concerto, which she describes as “so beautiful, a gem of a piece. It sometimes gets overlooked next to concertos by Tchaikovsky and Brahms, but personally I put it right on top of my list.”

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