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Sean Chen (Piano)

Born: 1988 - Margate, Florida, USA

The American pianist, Sean Chen, was born in Florida, and grew up in the Los Angeles area of Oak Park, California Chen. His impressive achievements before college included receiving an NFAA ARTSweek award, a prize at the California International Young Artist Competition, the Los Angeles Music Center's Spotlight Award, the Evelyn Bonar Storrs Scholarship, and the Glenn Miller Scholarship. These honors combined with his extraordinary intellect facilitated offers of acceptance by MIT, Harvard, and the Juilliard School of Music in New York; choosing to study music, Chen earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Juilliard (2006-2012), where he won the 2010 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, the 2010 Munz Scholarship, and first prize at the 2008 Juilliard Concerto Competition. While attending Juilliard, Chen was the recipient of a notable third-party scholarship: the 2010 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Since 2012, Chen He now resides in New Haven, Connecticut, where since 2012 he is pursuing his Artist Diploma at the Yale School of Music as a George W. Miles Fellowship recipient. He is studying with Hung-Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone, and his former teachers include Jerome Lowenthal, Matti Raekallio, and teacher-mentor Edward Francis.

Sean Chen is being hailed as a rising star with a "million-volt smile" and a "formidable set of fingers" (Dallas Morning News) and won fans with his ''exceptional ability to connect with an audience combined with an easy virtuosity'' (Huffington Post). In 2013 Chen won the American Pianists Association's DeHaan Classical Fellowship, one of the most lucrative and significant prizes available to an American pianist; he also won 3rd Prize (Crystal Award) at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, becoming the first American to reach the finals since 1997. He received 2nd Prize at the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition, 3rd Prize at the 2013 Morocco Philharmony International Piano Competition, Best Performance of an American Work at the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition, and he was a semifinalist at the 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition.

Sean Chen has appeared as soloist with several orchestras, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Suwon City Philharmonic under Dai Uk Lee, New West Symphony with Boris Brott, and the Juilliard Orchestra under David Atherton. He has performed solo recitals under the auspices of the McGraw-Hill Company, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, New West Symphony, National Chopin Foundation, Scriabin Society, Ventura Music Festival, and the Young Artist Guild of the Music Teachers Association of California, in Albuquerque, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Taipei, among other cities. An advocate of new music, Chen has collaborated with several composers to perform their works, including Lisa Bielawa, Michael Williams, Nicco Athens, Michael Gilbertson, and Reinaldo Moya, among others.

Upcoming CD releases include an album of Michael Williams's solo piano works on the Parma label, live recordings from the Cliburn competition, and a solo recording on the Steinway label as part of his American Pianists Association prize. Chen's performances have been broadcast live on From the Top, American Public Media's Performance Today, WQXR (New York), WGBH (Boston), and WFYI (Indianapolis). The webcast of his April 2013 performance of Béla Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Indianapolis Symphony - which, according to International Piano, "blazed with color and excitement" - can be viewed at

Named the 2013 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow of the American Pianists Association, Sean Chen will tour the USA and present recitals worldwide. Highlights of his 2013-2014 season include return invitations to perform with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Jordan Hall in Boston. When not at the piano, Chen enjoys tinkering with computers and composing.

More Photos

Source: Cliburn Competition Website (2013); Sean Chen Website; Bits & pieces from other sources
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2013)

Sean Chen: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Cliburn Competition: 2013 Competitors: Competitor Details: Sean Chen

Sean Chen, pianist (Official Website)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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