Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson (born October 27, 1978), known professionally as Vanessa-Mae (in Chinese: 陳美, Chén Měi), is an internationally known British pop and classical musician, especially noted for her violin skills. Her music style is self-described as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," as several of her albums prominently feature the techno style.
Vanessa-Mae was born in Singapore to a Thai father (Varaprong Vanakorn, who is now a Thai monk) and a Chinese mother (Pamela Tan). After her parents separated, her mother married Briton Graham Nicholson, and the family moved to England when Vanessa-Mae was four years old, but they have separated many years ago. She grew up in London and is a British citizen. She was educated at the independent Francis Holland School in London.
Vanessa-Mae, born October 27, 1978, coincidentally shares her birthday with famed violinist Niccolò Paganini, who was born 196 years earlier on October 27, 1782.
Vanessa-Mae began playing piano at the age of three and violin at five.
She was particularly famous in the United Kingdom throughout her childhood making regular appearances on television (for example on Blue Peter) mostly involving classical music and conservative style. According to Guinness World Records, she is the youngest soloist to record both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos, a feat she accomplished at the age of thirteen. During this time she attended the Francis Holland School in central London.
Vanessa-Mae made her international professional debut at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany in 1988, and also during 1988 made her concerto debut on stage with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.
On entering adolescence Vanessa-Mae broke away from her traditional classical influences and became known for her flashy, sexual style appearing in music videos in stylish outfits. She appeared on the Janet Jackson album The Velvet Rope playing a violin solo on the song "Velvet Rope." Her first pop-style album, The Violin Player, was released in 1995.
She performed in the interval of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest in Birmingham.
In April 2006, Vanessa-Mae was ranked as the wealthiest young entertainer under 30 in the UK in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006. having an estimated fortune of about £32 million ($64 million) stemming from concerts and record sales of over an estimated 10 million copies world wide, which is an unprecedented achievement for a young female violinist.
Vanessa-Mae announced in 2006 that she would be releasing a new album sometime between 2007 and 2008. The album was said to draw inspiration from great ballets and opera themes. Her new album is now scheduled to be released in 2010
What happens when loneliness engulfs us? How do we manage life when the absence of adequate connections becomes an excruciating hunger?
This is a colossal 18-disc set that focuses on the iconic group’s hit-packed albums, plus two sets that explore the individual careers of founding members Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio. FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS - THE CLASSIC ALBUMS BOX contains 18 CDs of the albums that Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons recorded between 1962-1992.
Director and violinist Amandine Beyer acknowledges in her booklet notes for this disc that the world may not seem to need another recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, but then she tops the bar she has set up by delivering an entirely distinctive reading of the work. Her version, with the Italian historical-instrument group Gli Incogniti (who are not quite as unknown as all that), is as strikingly revisionist as the various turbo-powered, operatic Vivaldi recordings that began coming out of Italy in the 1990s, but it is different in flavor. In her own words, Beyer seeks "lightweight forces and freedom of phrasing." The group is small, with microphones put down right in the middle, and you hear lots of internal lines and interplay rather than contrast between orchestra and soloist.
This EMI release of The Four Seasons gives violinist Sarah Chang top billing (as would be expected) and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra a smaller, less significant listing. As far as the quality of performance goes, however, Orpheus should absolutely be considered the star of this recording with Chang getting the footnote instead. This is simply not the case; from the ridiculously posed glamour photos filling the liner notes to the balance of the performance itself, this album is all about Chang. The most fulfilling aspects are the orchestral tuttis. Orpheus is truly at its best here, playing with as much energy and passion as the much ballyhooed recording with the Venice Baroque Orchestra.