“Chen is diminutive but powerful, with an exacting style of conducting that commands attention”

San Francisco Classical Voice

“Sometimes being a guest conductor can ignite a fire in an orchestra and there was no doubt that Ms. Chen lit one here; she infused a new energy into the orchestra’s performance. … The Allegretto [of Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 24 in C minor] was bold; Chen and Lang were in lockstep in extracting the beauty, creativity and energy of the finale.”


“Chen led a superbly taut and propulsive account of the Beethoven piece. The scherzo, taken at breakneck speed without missing a step, proved especially impressive, but the entire symphony was done with a high level of drama.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“The performance indeed offered a captivating and inspired interpretation.”


“But above all, the conductor Mei-Ann Chen should have all the honor of the overwhelming impression “Terra nostra” made. Along with a slightly reduced, yet sounding HSO, she took the audience by storm. It was a very long time since such a newly written work in this format was received with such great enthusiasm.”

Helsingborgs Dagblad (translated)

Praised for her dynamic, passionate conducting style, Taiwanese American conductor Mei-Ann Chen is acclaimed for infusing orchestras with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, galvanizing audiences, and communities alike. Music Director of the MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011, her contract has been extended through the end of the 2028-2029 season. Ms. Chen has been Chief Conductor of Austria’s Recreation – Grosses Orchester Graz at Styriarte since fall 2021, following two seasons as the orchestra’s first-ever Principal Guest Conductor, making her the first female Asian conductor to hold this position with an Austrian orchestra. Since 2019, she has served as the first-ever Artistic Partner of Houston’s ROCO and became an Artistic Partner with Northwest Sinfonietta in Washington state in fall 2022. Highly regarded as a compelling communicator and an innovative leader both on and off the podium, and a sought-after guest conductor, she has appeared with distinguished orchestras throughout the Americas, Europe, Taiwan, The United Kingdom, and Scandinavia, and continues to expand her relationships with orchestras worldwide (over 120 orchestras to date).

Following fall guest engagements that included debuts at Indiana University, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, and Denmark’s Odense Symphony, as well as a return to the Tucson Symphony, and performances with Chicago Sinfonietta, ROCO, and Austria’s Recreation – Grosses Orchester Graz at Styriarte, Ms. Chen’s second half of the 2023-24 season kicks off on January 1 with her debut with Taiwan’s One Song Orchestra. Of note is Chicago Sinfonietta’s tour to Atlanta, the first under Maestra Chen in early March 2024. Winter/spring performances include a return to Northwest Sinfonietta, performances in Tacoma and Puyallup, Washington, a tour of Taiwan with the National Symphony Youth Orchestra hosted by Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra that includes performances in Miaobei, Pingtung, and Tainan, a return to San Francisco Symphony, debuts with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra  and The Orchestre National de France, serving as a Jury Member for the April 2024 MALKO Competition in Copenhagen, Denmark, and debuts with Norway’s Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Sweden’s Uppsala Chamber Orchestra. Summer 2024 performances include ROCO’s EarShot showcase with the American Composers Orchestra during the League Of American Orchestra’s National Conference in Houston, Texas, and her debut at The University of Maryland’s National Orchestral Institute.

Recent performances include her Chicago Symphony Orchestra @ Ravinia Festival debut, a return to Vienna’s Tonkunstler Orchestra at the Grafenegg Festival, conducting Beethoven’s Eroica in a theatrical project in Graz at the STYRIARTE Summer Festival (received both TV & Radio broadcast on Austrian’s well-known ORF “Klangwolke Werk” program), serving as the Alumni Speaker for the 152nd Commencement ceremony at her alma mater, New England Conservatory, and her Spoleto Festival USA debut.  Other highlights include an impressive Minnesota Orchestra debut, stepping in last minute for Maestra Marin Alsop to conduct the popular New Year’s Eve concerts, seventh return to San Francisco Symphony Lunar New Year Celebration Concert, international debuts with Germany’s Staatsorchester Darmstadt, Orchestra National du Capitole de Toulouse (France debut), Basque National Orchestra (Spain debut), Liechtenstein Symphony Orchestra, and Helsinki Philharmonic in Finland. In North America, she debuted with American Composers orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Rochester and Buffalo philharmonics, and returned to Tucson Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, and Canada’s Calgary Philharmonic and serving on the jury for the prestigious MALKO Competition for Young Conductors in 2021.

Other international guest credits include symphony orchestras of England’s BBC in London, Brazil’s São Paulo (OSESP), Denmark’s National, Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Copenhagen Philharmonic, Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic, Germany’s Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Musikalische Academie des Nationaltheater-Orchestesters Mannheim, and NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover, Mexico’s National, Norway’s Oslo Philharmonic, Trondheim and Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw and Residentie in The Hague, Sweden’s Malmö, Norrlandsoperan, Gothenburg, Norrköping, Gävle, and Helsingborg, Switzerland’s Basel and Lucerne, Taiwan Philharmonic and Kaohsiung City at WeiWuYing (the world’s largest performing arts center since 2018 in Ms. Chen’s hometown), Scotland’s BBC Scottish, and Turkey’s Bilkent in Ankara.

North American guesting credits include appearances with major symphonies of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Oregon, Pacific, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver, to name a few.

As Music Director of Chicago Sinfonietta, Ms. Chen has made two recordings for Cedille Records: “Delights and Dances” (June 2013) and “Project W – Works by Diverse Women Composers” (released March 2019 by GRAMMY® nominated producer, Jim Ginsburg), featuring world premiere recordings for works by Florence Price, Clarice Assad, Jessie Montgomery, and Reena Esmail. In 2018, Innova Records released ROCO’s debut album “ROCO: Visions Take Flight” (produced by GRAMMY® Award producer, Blanton Alspaugh) featuring 5 commissioned contemporary works by Karim Al-Zand, Reena Esmail, Derek Bermel, Anthony DiLorenzo, Marcus Karl Maroney. Invited by Marin Alsop, Ms. Chen recorded Miachel Daugherty’s Time Machine for Three Conductors with UK’s Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on Naxos Records label in 2011. She will record Flutronix’s Black Being with Chicago Sinfonietta for Cedille Records in 2024-25.

A passionate advocate for music education, Ms. Chen dedicates significant time in mentoring young conductors through Chicago Sinfonietta Freeman Conducting Fellowship program since 2014 (helping to launch professional careers for more than a dozen young conductors) and has been invited by Marin Alsop to join as faculty for the 2024 National Orchestral Institute + Festival Conducting Academy, and conducts ensembles at important educational institutions, such as Carnegie’s esteemed NYO2 for young musicians (age 14-17), New England Conservatory (her alma mater), Indiana University, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, University of Southern California, and at various training programs, including the New World Symphony in Miami, Texas Music Festival, Boston University, Tanglewood Institute, Ung Filharmoni in Norway, Austria’s STYRIARTE Festival Youth Orchestra and SoundFlix Youth Orchestra project in Graz, and the newly created National Youth Symphony Orchestra hosted by the Taiwan Philharmonic in 2024 after leading Youth Orchestra Camp as Artistic Director of National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival (2016-2021). She also served as Music Director of the renowned Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon (2002-2007).

Past honors include being named one of 2015 Top 30 Influencers by Musical America, the 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras, the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship founded by Marin Alsop, and 2005 First Prize Winner of the Malko Competition (she remains as the only woman in the competition history since 1965 to have won First Prize). Ms. Chen is Conductor Laureate of the Memphis Symphony after serving as Music Director (2010-2016). Born in Taiwan, Ms. Chen came to the United States to study violin in 1989 at Walnut Hill High School for the Arts, received a violin performance undergraduate degree from New England Conservatory before becoming the first student in New England Conservatory’s history to be awarded double master’s degrees simultaneously in both violin and conducting, and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from University of Michigan.