Today on City Connect, as part of our Born This Day series, we celebrate the birthday of Vanessa-Mae, the internationally known British violinist, who was born on 27 October 1978. Her music style is self-described as “violin techno-acoustic fusion”, as several of her albums prominently feature the techno style. A former child prodigy, she became a successful crossover violinist with album sales reaching several millions, having made her the wealthiest young entertainer in the United Kingdom in 2006.
Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson was born in Singapore to Vorapong Vanakorn, an English hotelier of Thai descent, and Pamela Soei Luang Tan, a Chinese lawyer and semi-professional concert pianist. After her parents separated, her mother married Graham Nicholson, a British attorney who adopted Vanessa-Mae, and the family moved to England when Vanessa-Mae was four years old. She grew up in London and holds British citizenship. She began playing piano at the age of three and violin at five.
At the age of eight she attended the Francis Holland School in central London, and at eleven, after her concert debut in 1988, she enrolled at the Royal College of Music in London.
Vanessa-Mae became 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. She made her international professional debut at the age of ten in 1988 at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, and the same year made her concerto debut on stage with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. At the age of thirteen, she was the youngest soloist to record both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos, according to Guinness World Records.
On entering adolescence Vanessa-Mae broke away from her traditional classical influences and became known for her flashy, sexy style appearing in music videos in stylish outfits. Her first pop-style album, The Violin Player, was released in 1995. She appeared on the 1997 Janet Jackson album The Velvet Rope playing a violin solo on the song “Velvet Rope”.
Vanessa-Mae was managed by her mother, who owns a private recording label and music agency, until 1999, when Vanessa-Mae sacked her as her manager.
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 stemming from concerts and record sales of over an estimated 10 million copies worldwide, which is an unprecedented achievement for a young female violinist.
In 2009 Vanessa-Mae took up residence in the Swiss alpine resort Zermatt. A skier since the age of five, she plans to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics as a downhill skier, representing Thailand.
Vanessa-Mae most often uses one of two types of violins, a Guadagnini acoustic violin or a Zeta Jazz model electric violin. The Guadagnini was made in 1761, and was purchased by her parents at an auction for £250,000 when she was ten. It was stolen in January 1995, but was recovered by the police two months later. She once dropped and broke it, but had it repaired.
In addition, she uses one of two Zeta Jazz Model electric violins, one of which is white and the other one of which features decals of the US flag. She has also been using a silver-grey Zeta Jazz Model electric violin since 2001. She also owns three Ted Brewer Violins two of which she uses on stage (a Crossbow and a Vivo2 Clear) and in publicity material. In addition to these violins, she sometimes buys violins and resells them later, giving the proceeds to charity.
Image reproduced from vanessa-mae.com
Videos reproduced from YouTube / kaptomkap and YouTube / paganini123
Biography text reproduced from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
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