Taiwanese-American violist Che-Yen Chen has established himself as an active performer and is a founding member of the Formosa Quartet, recipient of the First-Prize and the Amadeus Prize winner of the 10th London International String Quartet Competition. Since winning First-Prize in the 2003 Primrose International Viola Competition and the "President Prize" of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, Chen has been described by the Strad Magazine as a musician whose “tonal distinction and essential musicality produced an auspicious impression” and by San Diego Union Tribune as an artist whose "most impressive aspect of his playing was his ability to find not just the subtle emotion, but the humanity hidden in the music."
Having served as principal violist of the San Diego Symphony for eight seasons, Chen is principal violist of the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and has appeared as guest principal with Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. A former member of Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two and participant of the Marlboro Music Festival, he is also a member of Camera Lucida and The Myriad Trio. Chamber music festival appearances include the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music International, La Jolla Summerfest, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Taiwan Connection, and National Youth Orchestra of Canada where the Formosa Quartet serves as faculty quartet-in-residence. In August 2013, the Quartet inaugurated its annual Formosa Chamber Music Festival (FCMF) in Hualien, Taiwan. Modeled after American summer festivals such as Ravinia, Taos, Marlboro, and Kneisel Hall, FCMF is the product of a long-held aspiration and represents one of the quartet's more important missions: to bring high-level chamber music training to talented young musicians; to champion Taiwanese and Chinese music; and to bring first-rate chamber music to Taiwanese audiences.
Currently teaching at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, Chen has previously served on the faculties of Indiana University South Bend, UC San Diego, San Diego State University, California State University-Fullerton, and McGill University. He has participated in educational programs such as National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Camp, Interlochen, and Mimir Festival, and has given master-classes across USA and Asia, including schools such as Taipei National University of the Arts, National Taiwan University of Arts, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and The Juilliard School. As a laureate, Chen was invited to serve on the jury of the 2011 Primrose International Viola Competition.
A native of Taipei, Chen began his viola study with Ben Lin and went on to be a four-time winner of the National Viola Competition in Taiwan. He came to the U.S. in his teens to matriculate at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, studying with such luminaries as Michael Tree, Joseph de Pasquale, Karen Tuttle and Paul Neubauer.
photo credit: Beth Ross-Buckley