Organist and composer CHELSEA CHEN (b. 1983) is internationally renowned for her concerts of “rare musicality” and “lovely lyrical grandeur,” and a compositional style that is “charming” and “irresistible” (Los Angeles Times).
One of the most promising organists of her generation, Chen has electrified audiences throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia in venues such as Singapore’s Esplanade, Hong Kong’s Cultural Centre, Kishinev’s National Organ Hall, and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center. As a composer she is broadening the classical organ repertoire with her own works based on Asian folksongs.
Chen has soloed with orchestras throughout the world, including the Wuhan Philharmonic in China, the Jakarta Simfonia in Indonesia, and the Juilliard Percussion Orchestra in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Committed to new music, she has premiered works by composers throughout the world including Teddy Niedermaier (U.S.) and Ola Gjeilo (Norway/U.S.), Jordan Kuspa (U.S.), Yui Kitamura (Japan/U.S.), Paul Desenne (Venezuela), Roderick Gorby (U.S.), and Andreas Kleinert (Germany).
Chen has received acclaim as a composer since she premiered her own Taiwanese Suite (2003) and Taiwan Tableaux (2007) at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Recently her solo organ pieces have been performed in Canada and Taiwan, and her most recent concerto, Jasmine Fantasy (for violin, organ, and strings), has been performed by orchestras in the United States, China, and Indonesia. Her solo organ works were featured at the 2011 Region I/II and IV Conventions of the American Guild of Organists.
The recipient of the 2009 Lili Boulanger Memorial Award and winner of the 2005 Augustana/Reuter National Organ Competition, Chen is a graduate of Juilliard, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She was also a full scholarship recipient at Yale University, where she earned an Artist Diploma. Her major organ teachers include Thomas Murray, John Weaver, Paul Jacobs, Monte Maxwell and Leslie Robb, and her primary piano teachers include Baruch Arnon, Jane Bastien, and Lori Bastien Vickers.
Chen has recorded multiple CDs: Reveries (2011) at Bethel University, Live at Heinz Chapel at the 2005 Convention of the American Institute of Organbuilders, and Treasures from the East with violinist Lewis Wong in 2010. Her playing has been aired on CNN.com, Pipedreams from American Public Media, Hawaii Public Radio, and Taiwan’s Good News Radio. Her compositions are exclusively available from Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc. She performs regularly with German violinist Viviane Waschbüsch (VivaChe Duo) and harpist and designer Arielle (Duo Mango).
In 2014 she became Organist and Artist-in-Residence at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She splits her time between Florida and New York, where she is also Artist-in-Residence at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.