Official Welcome Letter from Strings Department Chair:
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I am pleased to introduce the newest member of our strings faculty. The distinguished violist and educator Che-Yen Chen, principal violist of the San Diego Symphony, a recitalist and chamber musician with various notable affiliations, will join the Thornton School viola faculty in the fall of 2012.
A native of Taiwan, where he was a four-time winner of the National Viola Competition, Chen came to the U.S. in his teens to matriculate at the Curtis Institute of Music (Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance, 1998) and the Juilliard School (M.M. in Viola Performance, 2001). Within a few years, he had been honored internationally, in 2003 winning First Prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition and the “President Prize” of theLionel Tertis Viola Competition. He was also the winner of the New Amsterdam Symphony Concerto Competition in 2004.
Since then, Che-Yen Chen, also known as Brian Chen, has gone on to the career as a leading exponent of the viola. Beside his duties as principal violist of the San Diego Symphony, beginning in 2004, he has served as principal violist of the Mainly Mozart Festival since 2005, and has also been guest principal violist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He is currently a member of Camera Lucida, the Myriad Trio, and he is a co-founding member of the Formosa Quartet, winner of both the First Prize and the Amadeus Prize at the Tenth London International String Quartet Competition.
Among many chamber music affiliations, Chen participates annually in La Jolla Summerfest, the Seattle Chamber Music SocietySummer Festival and the Kingston Chamber Music Festival. He is a former member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two, and has toured with Musicians From Marlboro following several seasons of his participation at the Marlboro Music Festival.
Mr. Chen maintains a simultaneous career as a noted educator. A student of such luminaries as Michael Tree, Joseph de Pasquale,Karen Tuttle and Paul Neubauer, he has taught and performed at Interlochen, Mimir Chamber Music Festival, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and was a member of the jury of the 13th Primrose InternationalViola Competition in 2011. He has served on the faculties of McGill University, UC San Diego, San Diego State University, Indiana University South Bend, and teaches currently at California State University Fullerton.
Chen looks upon teaching as a collegial activity,instructor and students working together toward the goal of making good performances great. In his own career, teaching and playing go hand in hand, in a constancy of learning and refreshing each musician’s commitment to all aspects of performance.
Che-Yen Chen’s duties at the USC Thornton School will include teaching studio viola, chamber music and orchestral repertoire. Given his background leading master classes in notable institutions and music festivals around the world, and his history of helping younger violists through the always daunting audition process,placing students in orchestral and festival assignments, he will unquestionably become a valued addition to the Thornton Strings Department. Chen’s renown for dedication to educating the next generation of musicians will place him in excellent standing in a program known for innovation,practicality and constant commitment to the highest musical standards.
Please join me in welcoming Prof.Che-Yen Chen to our Strings Department.
Chair, Strings Department
USC Thornton School of Music