Biography

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A native of Tennessee, pianist Melvin Chen is recognized as an important artist, having received acclaim for performances throughout the United States and abroad. As a soloist and chamber musician Mr. Chen has performed at major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Frick Collection, Kennedy Center, and Boston’s Jordan Hall, in addition to other appearances throughout the United States, Canada, and Asia. In recent seasons Mr. Chen’s concerts have included solo recitals at Weill Recital Hall, concerto performances with the American Symphony Orchestra, Marin Symphony, Springfield Symphony, and the Paducah Symphony, along with numerous solo and chamber music appearances internationally and in the United States. He was the pianist in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice, which was presented by Lincoln Center  and which received a special citation from the Obie awards.

Mr. Chen’s performances have been featured on radio and television stations around the globe, including KBS television and radio in Korea, NHK television in Japan, and NPR in the United States. Solo recordings include Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations on the Bridge label, praised as “a classic” by the American Record Guide, and a recording of Joan Tower’s piano music on the Naxos label. Recent recordings of the Shostakovich piano sonatas and Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice were released to critical acclaim.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Mr. Chen has collaborated with such artists as Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, David Shifrin, Pamela Frank, and Peter Wiley; with the Shanghai, Tokyo, Miami, Penderecki, and Miro quartets; and in contemporary music collaborations with the Da Capo Chamber Players and The St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Chen is an alumnus of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Chamber Music Society Two, where he appeared with members of the Chamber Music Society in performance and educational programs for two seasons. A performer in numerous music festivals, he has performed at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music Mountain, Chautauqua, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Bard Music Festival, and Music from Angel Fire, among others.

Mr. Chen completed a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, and also holds a double master’s degree from The Juilliard School in piano and violin, where he studied with Seymour Lipkin and Glenn Dicterow, respectively. At Juilliard, he was the recipient of the U.S. Department of Education Jacob Javits Fellowship, as well as the William Petschek Piano Scholarship and the Ruth D. Rosenman Memorial Scholarship. Previously, he attended Yale University, receiving a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and physics. Upon graduation he was awarded the New Prize by the fellows of Jonathan Edwards College. During his tenure at Yale he studied with Boris Berman, Paul Kantor, and Ida Kavafian.

Mr. Chen was recently appointed as associate professor of piano and deputy dean at the Yale School of Music. Previously, Mr. Chen was on the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he was also associate director. He is also the artistic director of the chamber music program at the Hotchkiss Summer Portals.

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