One of the most dynamic young conductors in America, Mei-Ann Chen is currently in her third year as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. She is also beginning her second season as Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta. During this time, the impact of her energy, enthusiasm and high level of music-making has been felt by both of these orchestras, their audiences and entire communities, as well. The League of American Orchestras recognized this fact by choosing her for the prestigious Helen M. Thompson Award at their 2012 national conference in Dallas.
Among Ms. Chen’s upcoming highlights are debuts on the Chicago Symphony subscription series, the San Francisco Symphony Chinese New Year Celebration, North Carolina Symphony, San Diego Symphony, São Paulo Symphony in Brazil and the Tampere Philharmonic in Finland. Among last season’s debuts were the Netherlands Philharmonic at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Aspen Music Festival, the symphonies of Jacksonville, Naples and Sarasota, as well as the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.
In great demand as a guest conductor, Mei-Ann Chen recently stepped in on short notice for her very well-received subscription concert debut with the Cincinnati Symphony. She has been engaged by the Cincinnati Symphony for this season as well. Ms. Chen has also appeared with the Rochester Philharmonic and the symphonies of Alabama, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Edmonton (Canada), Florida, Fort Worth, Nashville, National (Washington, DC), Oregon, Pacific, Pasadena, Phoenix, Seattle and Toronto. Worldwide engagements include all the principal Danish orchestras, BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Graz Symphony, National Symphony of Mexico, Norrlands Opera Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Trondheim Symphony. Festival appearances include Grand Teton, Wintergreen, Chautauqua Institute and the Texas Music Festival in Houston.
The first woman to win the Malko Competition (2005), Ms. Chen has served as Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta, Baltimore and Oregon symphonies. The positions in Atlanta and Baltimore were sponsored by the League of American Orchestras. Recipient of the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship, she has appeared jointly with Marin Alsop and Stefan Sanderling in highly acclaimed subscription concerts with the Baltimore Symphony, Colorado Symphony and Florida Orchestra.
In 2002, Ms. Chen was unanimously selected as Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon, the oldest of its kind and the model for many of the youth orchestras in the United States. During her five-year tenure with the orchestra, she led its sold-out debut in Carnegie Hall, received an ASCAP award for innovative programming, and developed new and unique musicianship programs for the orchestra’s members. She was honored with a Sunburst Award from Young Audiences for her contribution to music education.
Born in Taiwan, Mei-Ann Chen has lived in the United States since 1989. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Michigan, where she was a student of Kenneth Kiesler. Prior to that, she was the first student in New England Conservatory’s history to receive master’s degrees, simultaneously, in both violin and conducting. Ms. Chen also participated in the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C. and the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen.