About Mei-Ann Chen
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. Music Director of the MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011, Ms. Chen is Austria’s Recreation Grosses Orchester Graz first-ever Principal Guest Conductor, and the first-ever Artistic Partner of Houston’s River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO). She also has served as Artistic Director & Conductor for the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival 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.
Ms. Chen’s recent and upcoming highlights include debuts with the New York Philharmonic, Austria’s Tonkünstler in Vienna’s Musikverein, the season opening concerts of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Residentie Orkest at The Hague, Germany’s NDR Radiophilharmonie and Darmstedt Staatsorchester, Norway’s Oslo Philharmonic, Spain’s Basque National Orchestra, Switzerland’s Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra at Taiwan’s Weiwuying (the world’s largest performing arts center since 2018), and serving on the jury for the prestigious Malko Competition in 2021. Return engagements include the symphony orchestras of Detroit, Pacific, San Francisco and Tucson in the U.S., as well as with Sweden’s Helsingborg, Malmö and Norrland’s Opera, and Finland’s Tampere Filharmonia.
North American guesting credits include appearances with the Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Nashville, Oregon, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver, to name a few. Among her overseas guesting credits are the symphonies of BBC Scottish, Brazil’s São Paulo (OSESP), Denmark’s National, Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Copenhagen Philharmonic, Germany’s Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Mexico’s National, Norway’s Radio and Trondheim, Sweden’s Gothenburg and Norrköping, Switzerland’s Basel, Turkey’s Bilkent, and Taiwan’s Philharmonic. Ms. Chen’s U.S. summer music festival credits include Aspen, Grant Park, Grand Teton, Ravinia, Texas, and Wintergreen.
Maestra Chen records for Cedille and Innova record labels.
Her honors and awards include being named one of Musical America’s 2015 Top 30 Influencers, the 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras, and 2005 First Prize Winner of the prestigious Malko Competition. Ms. Chen is also Conductor Laureate of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.
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.
About Chicago Sinfonietta
The Chicago Sinfonietta is dedicated to providing an alternative way of hearing, seeing and thinking about a symphony orchestra and promoting diversity, inclusion, racial and cultural equity in the arts. Learn more here.