“Chen is diminutive but powerful, with an exacting style of conducting that commands attention” -San Francisco Classical Voice
“Her controlled yet fluid conducting style combined clear cues and beats with sweeping, circular gestures reminiscent of the great maestro Seiji Ozawa.”-The Press Democrat (CA)
“The performance indeed offered a captivating and inspired interpretation.” – Sydsvenskan
Praised for her dynamic, passionate conducting style, Taiwanese-American conductor Mei-Ann Chen is acclaimed for infusing orchestras with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, galvanizing audiences and communities alike. Appointed Music Director of the MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta in 2011, Ms. Chen’s contract has been extended through the 2020-2021 season. She also serves as Artistic Director & Conductor for the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival, a post she has held since 2016. Highly regarded as a compelling communicator and an innovative leader both on and off the podium, and a sought-after guest conductor, she continues to expand her relationships with orchestras worldwide.
North American guesting credits include appearances with the Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Nashville, Oregon, Pacific, River Oaks Chamber, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver, to name a few. Overseas guesting credits include the symphonies of BBC Scottish, Denmark’s National, Aalborg, Aarhus, and Odense, Sweden’s Gävle, Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Malmö, and Norrköping, The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, Norwegian Radio and Trondheim Symphony, Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic, Austria’s Grosses Orchester Graz, Germany’s Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, and Taiwan Philharmonic, National Taiwan & Taipei Symphony Orchestras. Her U.S. summer music festival credits include Aspen, Grant Park, Grand Teton, Ravinia, Texas, and Wintergreen. Future engagements include debuts with Denmark’s Copenhagen Philharmonic on a 7-city tour, Germany’s Würth Philharmonic, Netherland’s Residentie Orkest, Norway’s Oslo Philharmonic, Switzerland’s Sinfonieorchester Basel, Turkey’s Bilkent Senfoni Orkestrasi, and return engagements with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for its Gala program with Lang Lang, and multiple programs with Austria’s Recreation Grosses Orchester Graz and Sweden’s Malmö Symphony Orchestra.
Recognized as someone who has redefined the orchestra experience, amongst Ms. Chen’s honors and awards are being named one of the 2015 Top 30 Influencers by Musical America, (the bible of the performing arts industry); a 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras; Winner, the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship; and First Prize Winner, the prestigious Malko Competition in 2005. Ms. Chen is the recipient of several ASCAP awards for innovative programming during her tenure as the Music Director of Chicago Sinfonietta & Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon (2002 – 2007). Ms. Chen is also Conductor Laureate of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, having served as Music Director from 2010 to 2016.
Born in Taiwan, Mei-Ann Chen came to the United States to study violin in 1989 and became the first student in New England Conservatory’s history to receive master’s degrees simultaneously in both violin and conducting. She later studied with Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan, where she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting. Ms. Chen participated in the National Conductor Preview, National Conducting Institute, Aspen American Academy of Conducting, and Pierre Monteux School.