An innovative and passionate force both on and off the conductor’s podium, Mei-Ann Chen is one of America’s most dynamic young conductors. Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011 and of the Memphis Symphony since 2010, she has infused both orchestras with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, galvanizing their audiences and communities alike. In recognition of these accomplishments, the League of American Orchestras granted her the prestigious Helen M. Thompson Award at its 2012 national conference in Dallas. A sought-after guest conductor, Ms. Chen’s reputation as a compelling communicator has resulted in growing popularity with orchestras both nationally and internationally.
Ms. Chen’s recent seasons include debuts with the Chicago Symphony on its subscription series, with the San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony (where she stepped in on short notice and was immediately re-engaged), and San Diego Symphony nationally, and engagements abroad with Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony, Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic, the Netherlands Philharmonic in the Concertgebouw, and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.
Mei-Ann Chen’s skill on the podium and as a music educator has been recognized with several honors, awards and posts, including the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship, and winning Copenhagen’s esteemed Malko Competition in 2005. She served as Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony and Baltimore Symphony, under the aegis of the League of American Orchestras, with the Oregon symphony as well. In 2002, Ms. Chen was unanimously selected as Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon. During her five-year tenure with the orchestra, she led its sold-out debut in Carnegie Hall, and received an ASCAP award for innovative programming.
Born in Taiwan, Mei-Ann Chen has lived in the United States since 1989. She was the first student in New England Conservatory’s history to receive master’s degrees, simultaneously, in both violin and conducting, later studying with Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan, where she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting. Ms. Chen also participated in the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C. and at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen.