Innovation, imagination, passion and dynamism are the hallmarks of conductor Mei-Ann Chen. Music Director of the 2016 MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta, she is acclaimed for infusing the orchestra with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, and galvanizing audiences and communities alike. In December 2015, Musical America, the bible of the performing arts industry, named Mei-Ann Chen one of its 2015 Top 30 Influencers. A sought-after guest conductor, Ms. Chen’s reputation as a compelling communicator has resulted in growing popularity with orchestras both nationally and internationally.
Named Conductor Laureate following a successful six season tenure as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra this past spring, Ms. Chen recently served as Artistic Director and Conductor for the 2016 National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival.
Among her guest engagements in 2016-2017 season are debuts and returns to the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, Sweden’s Malmö SymfoniOrkester, Austria’s Grosses Orchester Graz, Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, as well as both the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan (Taipei) and National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra (Taichung).
Past performance highlights include leading symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oregon, Seattle, Toronto, Tucson, and Vancouver. Overseas guesting credits include the BBC Scottish Symphony, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Germany’s Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra filarmônica de Minas Gerais.
Ms. Chen’s skills both on and off the podium have been recognized, as someone who has redefined the orchestra experience and as a music educator. Among her honors and awards are the 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras and First Prize Winner of the 2005 Malko Competition in Copenhagen, a 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship, and multiple ASCAP awards for innovative programming. Ms. Chen served as Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony and Baltimore Symphony under the aegis of the League of American Orchestras, and with the Oregon symphony as well. In 2002, Ms. Chen was unanimously selected as Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon.
Born in Taiwan, Mei-Ann Chen has lived in the United States since 1989. The first student in New England Conservatory’s history to receive master’s degrees simultaneously in both violin and conducting, Ms. Chen holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Michigan.