Malmo Symphony Orchestra
"The conductor of this evening: Mei-Ann Chen obvioulsy loved the music. She had the score of Mahler's 1st Symphony in her head and her arms and hands in the best manner. She conveyed precision and dedication and mastered the incessant stretching of tempo. The orchestra gave her all attention with special effort from all sides in the mighty orchestration. The acoustics enhanced the accomplishment. Everything becomes audible (even what maybe should not be heard). The performance indeed offered a captivating and inspired interpretation. And Mei-Ann Chen with this performance gave a prepossessing/winning debut in front of the kindled Malmo audience."
SYDSVENSKAN (Malmo, Sweden)
"Previously unknown in Germany, [Mei-Ann Chen] offered a spectacular debut conducting the highly motivated Badische Staatskapelle. Right at the beginning of the evening one heard colorful orchestral playing. Mei-Ann Chen drives the sound to the limit, as well as eliciting the orchestra's narrative qualities. Pictures at an Exhibition - a masterpiece - was depicted effectively and with great plasticity by the Statskapelle under its guest conductor."
BADISCHE NEUESTE NACHRICHTEN (Karlsruhe, Germany)
"The aforementioned pictorial sound with the narrative finesse of the orchestra and the conductor was on full display during Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Mei-Ann Chen conducts large, slim fit, expressive and sober and straight at the same time; she moved every phrase, every dynamic change, it seems, right down to her toes. The orchestra followed her exactly. One could hear a slow, eerie gnome, a slightly thrown-image of the Tuileries - and an incredibly long and delicate sounding saxophone solo in the wistful ballad about the "Old Castle." The gratitude of the orchestra towards the conductor almost never ended - a great concert."
PAMINA ONLINE (Karlsruhe, Germany)
"Chen... [has] helped the players [that she's inherited] to deliver performances on a higher level than they've been able to show in recent years... The Beethoven sounded as if this were an almost entirely new orchestra... The entire evening gave signs of great things to come for this rare talent and orchestra and their unique joint mission."
Memphis Symphony Orchestra
"Not all events are both historic and remarkable, but the Memphis Symphony Orchestra pulled off a concert over the weekend that achieved both. The Copland (Appalachian Spring) was as terrific a performance as MSO has ever done. The orchestra's vigorous and expressive take forged a definitive interpretation of the work. That was the last piece on the program, but Chen had yet another surprise before the applause had died down. The MSO then played Bernstein's "Candide" Overture, a manic work that feels like the train is about to jump the track -- except that with as assured a conductor as Chen at the controls, there was no danger of anything except an incredibly exhilarating ride."
COMMERCIAL APPEAL (Memphis)
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
"Several ASO musicians privately called her the best young conductor they've worked with. Chen is terrific. For her debut's big showpiece, Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, her account was emotionally warm, rhythmically alive, beautifully structured, even a bit showy and theatrical."
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
"Stunning, just stunning. That was the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's performance of the Tchaikovsky Pathétique Symphony. It came at the hands - and thanks to the intellect, fastidious preparation and sheer passion - of guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen. I can't remember a more gripping performance of the piece."
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
Pacific Symphony Orchestra
"Everything seemed to align - instrumental balances, dramatic pacing, lyrical lines, sturdy rhythms and gorgeous colors. Chen is an energetic as well as smoothly agile conductor. She urged and probed and inspired from first to last. The sweep of the thing was patiently puzzled together from the details, which she polished off lovingly left and right, front and back. She never bogged down in the minutiae though, the flow of one idea to the next a seamless whole."
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Colorado Symphony Orchestra
"Speaking of stars, the Boettcher audience caught a glimpse of one in the making... Here is a confident, engaging musician who was able to inject Beethoven's Coriolan overture with a fresh degree of drama, lyricism and transparency. Her podium manner is thrilling to watch, passionate and committed, yet on the money with cues and pacing. Watch for her."
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS (Denver)
Trondheim Symphony Orchestra
"Chen was totally convincing as a conductor full of surplus energy. In addition, however, she showed such a respect for the details that it seemed hardly possible to get any closer to perfection."
THE ADRESSEAVISEN (Trondheim, Norway)