Mei-Ann Chen

Mei-Ann Chen serves as Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and Artistic Director and Conductor for the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival. Ms. Chen is the recipient of several ASCAP awards for innovative programming for her work with the Chicago Sinfonietta and Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon. She is also Conductor Laureate of the Memphis Symphony, having served as Music Director from 2010 to 2016.

Born in Taiwan, Ms. 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. She led the San Francisco Symphony’s Lunar New Year concerts in 2013 (her SFS debut), 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Ms. Chen’s 2018-19 season engagements include debuts and return engagements with the Atlanta Symphony, Recreation Grosses Orchester Graz, Malmö Symphony, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Bilkent Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, and the Asheville and Knoxville symphonies.

Past performance highlights include leading the orchestras of Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver, as well as the BBC Scottish Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Sweden’s Gothenburg and Malmö symphonies, Netherlands Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Germany’s Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and the National Taiwan and Taipei symphonies.

In December 2015 Mei-Ann Chen was named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Influencers. Among her other honors and awards are the 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras and a 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship. In 2005 she became the first woman to win Copenhagen’s Malko Competition.  

(February 2019)