Robert Chen has been concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1999. During that time, he has been featured as soloist with conductors including Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Ton Koopman, Osmo Vänskä, Vasily Petrenko, Nicholas Kraemer and James Conlon. He gave the CSO premiere of György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, Elliott Carter’s Violin Concerto and Witold Lutosławski’s Chain Two, as well as the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Astral Canticle.
In addition to his duties as concertmaster, Chen enjoys a solo career that includes performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra of Hanover, Asia Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in collaborations with such conductors as Myung-Whun Chung, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Pavel Kogan and Andreas Delfs.
An avid chamber musician, Chen has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Christoph Eschenbach, Myung-Whun Chung, Emanuel Ax, Mitsuko Uchida, Lynn Harrell and János Starker. Also a frequent participant at numerous music festivals including Aspen, Santa Fe, La Jolla and Schloss Moritzburg in Germany, he has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro and is a founding member of the Johannes Quartet.
Prior to joining the CSO, Robert Chen won first prize in the Hanover International Violin Competition. As part of that prize, he recorded Tchaikovsky’s works for violin for the Berlin Klassics label.
A native of Taiwan, Robert Chen began violin studies at the age of seven and continued with Robert Lipsett when he and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1979. While in Los Angeles, he participated in Jascha Heifetz’s master classes. Chen received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki.
In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at home with his wife Laura and children Beatrice and Noah.