Friday’s exciting season-opening concert in the Paramount Theatre, led by guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen, gave plenty of cause for optimism.

It wasn’t just that Chen, who rearranged her schedule to lead off a season’s worth of guest conductors, drew playing of such vitality and fervor from the orchestra. And it wasn’t just that the orchestra — which like so many other cultural institutions went through daunting, near-existential crises during the long dark months of the pandemic shutdown — has evidently emerged strong and resilient."


Taiwanese American conductor Mei-Ann Chen officially takes on the post of principal conductor of recreation - Grosses Orchester Graz at Styriarte beginning this fall, making her the first female Asian conductor to serve as chief conductor of the ensemble. She is also one of the first female Asian conductors to hold such a position with an Austrian orchestra.


Nationally syndicated PerformanceToday will feature Gabriel Faure's Masques et bergamasques, Op. 12, from the September 26, 2020 River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO) concert on today's program. Performed and recorded at Houston's Cynthia Wood Mitchell Pavilion, and led by conductor Mei-Ann Chen, first-ever Artistic Partner of ROCO, the performance airs in the second hour of the program.



Mei-Ann Chen featured in cover interview in Mannheimer Morgen (subscriber paywall)


Mei-Ann Chen leads the Musikalische Adademie des Nationaltheater-Orchestesters Mannheim on  May 3rd in a streamed performance to replace the 3rd Academy Concert of 2020/21 live from the Mannheim Rose Garden!

Monday, 3 May; Tuesday, 4 May; Wednesday, 5 May
May 2021 12:00 A.M. - 23:59 P.M. German Time, Live from the Rosengarten Mannheim

Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Tobias Feldmann, violin

SHOSTAKOVICH Chamber Symphony (arr. Rudolf Barschai) SCHUBERT Rondo for violin and string orchestra, D 438 BRAHMS Serenade No. 2 in A major op.16


Conductors Mei-Ann Chen and David Alan Miller in a conductor's roundtable discussing working with living composers and championing for new music!


“We have three African American composers that we have championed. Two of them we have championed in the past and one is new,” she said. “With a young soloist that is a national rising star with a Chicago link — the daughter of one of our longtime members in the violin section. We didn’t want this great program we put together to disappear. We are grateful we’re able to present this at the end of this month.”


She wins the hearts of all involved with her joy, with her contagious enthusiasm and above all with her professional conducting style under the umbrella of mutual respect and appreciation. Mei-Ann Chen, recreations First Principal Guest Conductor came back from Chicago and conducted Mussorgski's symphonic hit ′′ Pictures of an Exhibition ′′ (instrumentation by Ravel).


Conductor Mei-Ann Chen speaks with Podium Time at 3:45 PM on Feb. 20th about conducting and more


Tchaikovsky and the  Romantics with Toledo Symphony and violinist Timothy Chooi.  Limited tickets for live performance at Toledo Museum of Art, online streaming will also be offered.


The New York Times article - online today and a version in the paper on January 31

"The work now being taken up by large institutions has long been the purpose of many smaller ones. We spoke with seven of them." By Joshua Barone, Senior Staff Editor


VIew the video on Chicago Sinfonietta's upcoming March 28 MLK Tribute Concert!


Enjoy this American program, "From the Neue Welt" - Barber & Dvorak, recorded in November for TV broadcast in AUSTRIA US times 1:30ET/12:30CT/11:30MT/10:30PT)! The pandemic has forced many LIVE performances to be cancelled, but music continues in many shapes and forms...

The concert was recorded in late November in Grafenegg.


Visit Mei-Ann's facebook page or the musuem's facebook page for her contribution to the museum's holiday series of holiday book readings.


"The label [Cedille] has had a commitment not only to boosting local artists and musicians but artists and musicians of color. One Cedille regular has been the Chicago Sinfonietta, which is the most diverse orchestra in the United States."


"Most of this year’s planned tributes to Beethoven’s 250th birthday have been canceled due to the pandemic, so one welcomed the Sinfonietta’s contribution, which proved characteristically unorthodox. Rather than offer something wholly familiar, Chen led the Sinfonietta strings in Jeffrey L. Briggs' arrangement of two movements from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op. 13, “Pathetique.” This may have seemed like a bit of a stunt, in that this music is so inherently pianistic. But there were new pleasures to be drawn from this arrangement. In the adagio cantabile second movement (mistakenly identified onscreen as the third movement), Chen conjured considerable tenderness and introspection. And in the last movement, the conductor took a slower tempo than pianists usually do, giving the music a degree of grandeur it rarely receives.

The concert opened with Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and included Valerie Coleman’s arrangement of the South African National Anthem. Both works proved the value of elegantly stated populism and underscored the Sinfonietta’s message of optimism in the face of global adversity."


"The orchestra is continuing to build on a three-decades history of anti-racism and anti-sexism. At least one-third of its musicians, staff and board are people of color, making it a notable outlier in the orchestral world." -Kyle MacMillan, The Chicago Sun-Times

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