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WQXR Features

Ray Chen's Road Trip Playlist

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For summer driving season, WQXR is asking on-the-move classical musicians for their road trip playlists.

Ray Chen's playlist comes at an ideal moment, as he announced on Twitter this weekend: "So this is what being an adult feels like. Finally got my driver's license at age 25!" The fast-rising violinist can be excused for putting off this rite of passage. His summer touring schedule alone will take him from Japan and Australia to Switzerland, Germany, Maine and South America.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Brisbane, Australia, Chen's career got a boost when he won the Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin Competitions, in 2008 and 2009 respectively. He's made three albums for Sony, the latest being a Mozart recording with pianist/conductor Christoph Eschenbach. And he's known as a clothes horse, having cut a sponsorship deal with Giorgio Armani, which was featured in the Italian edition of Vogue.

And while Chen's driving skills may require some polishing, he's got a head start on an eclectic, energetic soundtrack.

Ray Chen describes his playlist in narrative form:

You probably woke up at the crack of dawn to get a start on your road trip! And you're gonna need some uplifting beats to give you that combination hit with your morning cup of coffee! Here are some beats that will give you a boost for the journey ahead. 

  • Blues Traveler - "Run-Around"
  • Young MC - “Bust A Move” (Diplo Remix)
  • Electric Guest - “This Head I Hold"
  • Pretty Lights - "I Can See It In Your Face"
  • Tokimonsta - "Go With It” (Yung Skeeter Remix)

Okay, so you thought you woke up early enough to beat the traffic, but for some unknown reason the road is still is a bit congested. Well whatever happens, don’t start raging. Just turn up the fan and let these tracks cool you down for a bit while the traffic clears. 

  • Arvo Pärt - Spiegel im Spiegel (Daniel Hope, violin; Simon Mulligan, piano, from "A Portrait")
  • Mozart - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 3 in G major, K. 216: Allegro (from Violin Concertos & Sonata: Ray Chen & Christoph Eschenbach)

Alright! Traffic is back up and moving and the journey is in full swing! Let this next set of songs take you to wherever your destination may be!  

  • Churchill - “Change”
  • Portugal. The Man - “The Sun”
  • Neon Trees - “Animal”
  • Bruno Mars - “Treasure"

Note: To listen to the playlist below you must be a subscriber to Spotify: