Mei-Ann Chen Announced As Principal Guest Conductor of Austria's Recreation-Grosses Orchester Graz

Mei-Ann Chen Announced As Principal Guest Conductor of Austria's Recreation-Grosses Orchester Graz

Artistic Director Mathis Huber of Austria's recreation-GROSSES ORCHESTER GRAZ announced today following this evening's concert performance that American-Taiwanese conductor Mei-Ann Chen has been appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the 17-year-old orchestra. The appointment extends through the 2021-22 season, beginning September 2019.

"I am delighted that the great personal and artistic relationship that has developed in the collaboration between Mei-Ann Chen and the recreation-GROSSES ORCHESTER GRAZ musicians since 2011 is now expressed in the fact that Mei-Ann Chen will act as the 'Principal Guest Conductor' of our orchestra for the seasons 2019/20 to 2021/22," stated Mr. Huber. She will design at least two projects per season for and with recreation, and she will develop one of her artistic focus areas together with us, discovering and presenting the orchestral works of important female composers of the past and the present. This project is in good hands with an orchestra that has also committed itself to generate gender equality at the conductor's stand."

Ms. Chen is Music Director of the MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta, a post she has held since 2011, and since 2016, Artistic Director & Conductor for the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival. Praised by San Francisco Classical Voice as "powerful, with an exacting style of conducting that commands attention," she is a popular guest conductor on both international and national stages. Ms. Chen has been a frequent guest conductor with recreation-GROSSES ORCHESTER GRAZ since 2011.

"My first encounter with recreation GROSSES ORCHESTER GRAZ was literally 'love at first sight.'" said Ms. Chen. "The visionary administrative team led under Herr Mathis Huber has embraced diversity and innovative programming, while the lovely musicians are the embodiment of great artists combined with fantastic personalities! I am truly honored to serve as the new Principal Guest Conductor and privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate on many fascinating projects together.

Celebrated for her commitment to diversity and innovation, and renowned for her dynamic, passionate conducting style, Ms. Chen is acclaimed for infusing orchestras with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, galvanizing audiences and communities alike. Highly regarded as a compelling communicator and an innovative leader both on and off the podium, and a sought-after guest conductor, she continues to expand her relationships with orchestras worldwide.

North American guesting credits include appearances with the Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Nashville, Oregon, Pacific, River Oaks Chamber, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver, to name a few. Overseas guesting credits include the symphonies of BBC Scottish, Denmark's National, Aalborg, Aarhus, and Odense, Sweden's Gavle, Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Malmo, and Norrkoping, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, Norwegian Radio and Trondheim Symphony, Finland's Tampere Philharmonic, Austria's recreation-GROSSES ORCHESTER GRAZ, Germany's Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Brazil's Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, and Taiwan Philharmonic, National Taiwan and Taipei Symphony Orchestras. Her U.S. summer music festival credits include Aspen, Grant Park, Grand Teton, Ravinia, Texas, and Wintergreen.

Recent engagement highlights include debuts and return engagements with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Gala program with Lang Lang), San Francisco Symphony, and Sweden's Malmo Symphony Orchestra, Denmark's Copenhagen Philharmonic (7-city tour), Norway's Oslo Philharmonic, Canada's Symphony Nova Scotia and Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Asheville Symphony, Switzerland's Sinfonieorchester Basel, Vienna's Tonkunstler-Orchester at Grafenegg Festival, and National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra's debut US Tour, including its debut as the first Taiwanese orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Upcoming engagements include Turkey's Bilkent Senfoni Orkestrasi, the Oslo Philharmonic, Malmo Symphony Orchestra, a return (in April 2019) to recreation-GROSSES ORCHESTER GRAZ and Chicago Sinfonietta and Knoxville Symphony.

As Music Director of Chicago Sinfonietta, Ms. Chen has made two recordings for Cedille Records: "Project W - Works by Diverse Women Composers,"featuring the world-premiere recordings of newly commissioned American works by Jennifer Higdon, Clarice Assad, Jessie Montgomery, and Reena Esmail, and the world premiere of William Grant Still's orchestral arrangement of Florence Price's Dances in the Canebrakes (March 2019); and "Delights and Dances"featuring world premieres by Michael Abels, An-Lun Huang, and Randall Craig Fleischer's arrangement of Bernstein's West Side Story Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, featuring the Harlem String Quartet, and Benjamin Lees' Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra (June 2013). This past November 2018, Innova Records released River Oaks Chamber Orchestra's debut album "ROCO: Visions Take Flight," praised by artsfuse.org as "one of those rarest of accomplishments: a contemporary music album that's a sheer joy to listen to, from start to finish." Ms. Chen a frequent guest conductor with the orchestra, conducts the CD, which features the world premiere recordings of five of the orchestra's commissioned works.

Recognized as someone who has redefined the orchestra experience, amongst Ms. Chen's honors and awards are being named one of the 2015 Top 30 Influencers by Musical America, (the bible of the performing arts industry); a 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras; Winner, the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship; and First Prize Winner, the prestigious Malko Competition in 2005. Ms. Chen is the recipient of several ASCAP awards for innovative programming during her tenure as the Music Director of Chicago Sinfonietta and Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon (2002 - 2007). Ms. Chen is also Conductor Laureate of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, having served as Music Director from 2010 to 2016.

Born in Taiwan, Mei-Ann 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.

Mei-Ann Chen Announced As Principal Guest Conductor of Austria's Recreation-Grosses Orchester Graz

Mei-Ann Chen Announced As Principal Guest Conductor of Austria's Recreation-Grosses Orchester Graz
In 2002 musicians of the Graz Symphony Orchestra formed "recreation - GROSSES ORCHESTER GRAZ." The first
subscripscription concerts were given in the 2002-03 season and were enthusiastically welcomed by the audience. Since then the orchestra has performed at the Styriarte Festival in Graz, at the Musikverein in Vienna, at the Old Opera in Frankfurt, the Styrian Autumn Festival, and the Jazz Summer Graz Festival. The members of the orchestra either studied at the University of Music in Graz or teach at one of the music education institutions in that city and Styria. With their different nationalities, the orchestra musicians create a fusion of many south-east European cultures.

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