"A thoughtful, lyrical, and accomplished artist...The hallmarks of Ms. Chen’s performance were the singing quality of her sound and her attentiveness to inner voices and harmonic shadings…"
- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
In a time of promising young virtuosos from all over the world the Taiwanese-American pianist Weiyin Chen stands out not just for her dazzling technique, but above all for the sheer musicality and maturity of her playing, qualities rare in an artist of her young years. Her gift for getting to the musical “heart” of the scores she plays has drawn the attention and praise of such master musicians as the renowned conductor-pianist Leon Fleisher and pianists Richard Goode and Claude Frank, all of whom she studied with extensively, among a legion of other notable figures. Ms. Chen is a “thinking pianist” who has a rare ability to look beyond the notes on the page to divine a score’s musical essence.
This June, Ms. Chen concludes a three-part series of concerts at New York’s standout downtown venue SubCulture. In January she collaborated with the exceptional Miró Quartet to perform the Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 60 and the Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34 of Brahms. The series will close with a solo piano recital on June 13, featuring the world premiere of American composer Marc Neikrug’s work Sun Moon Lake, bookended by the Bartók Sonata and Schubert’s Piano Sonata in G Major, Op. 78, D. 894. In the first concert of the SubCulture series, she was favorably reviewed by The New York Times senior music critic Anthony Tommasini:
The featured artist was the appealing young Taiwanese-American pianist Weiyin Chen, a thoughtful, lyrical and accomplished artist, who performed works by Mozart and Mendelssohn with Camerata RCO, an ensemble whose members are players in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. (This is the first in a series of three programs Ms. Chen will present at
SubCulture this season.) Then Ms. Chen, joined by a quartet of strings and double bass, played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A (K. 414) as a chamber work. The original orchestral version is already intimate, scored for just two oboes, two horns and strings, and it works beautifully as a chamber piece. The hallmarks of Ms. Chen’s performance were the singing quality of her sound and her attentiveness to inner voices and harmonic shadings… I was captivated by the breadth and
warmth of the Mozart playing, and the easy interplay between Ms. Chen and the ensemble.
-- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, September 15, 2014
Ms. Chen’s upcoming recording with the Camerata RCO features concerti by Mozart and Mendelssohn and will be released on Gutman Records in June 2015.
Further highlights of Ms. Chen’s 2014/15 season include a Dutch tour with the Camerata RCO (featuring a concert and live radio broadcast at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw’s Spiegelzaal); a recital at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago; and appearances in New York City and Taiwan with the Chelsea Music Festival. In March, Ms. Chen traveled to India, where she gave a masterclass and recital under the auspices of the Mehli Mehta foundation. The ticket sale of the concert was donated to the charity medical works in Aurangabad, conducted by Dr. Hung-Chi Chen, Weiyin's father.
Ms. Chen’s recent CD, Diary in G, which includes Schubert’s Sonata No. 18 in G major and the Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor by Robert Schumann on the Azica label, is a testament to her superb talents as an interpreter. In his glowing review of the recording in Fanfare, longtime critic Jerry Dubins wrote:
Weiyin Chen is up against some very formidable competitors in the Schubert Sonata, not
the least among which are Alfred Brendel, Wilhelm Kempff, Radu Lupu, András Schiff, and Schubert specialist Anthony Goldstone… Nonetheless, against this line-up of great keyboard artists and acknowledged Schubert interpreters, Chen emerges as a deeply probing player who finds the core of this music from the very first bar and never, for even a moment, loses concentration. Hers is a performance drenched in inexpressible sadness, a reverie in frozen tears…this is one of the most breathtaking performances of this Sonata I’ve ever heard. The pianist makes every single note speak and count, with the result that time is stilled from beginning to end… I can honestly say that no other performance and recording of this Sonata I’ve heard has won me over as this one has. Chen not only has to call upon her technical resources—which are abundant—for Schumann’s Sonata, but she must also shift gears stylistically and attitudinally from her approach in the Schubert; in essence, she must assume a different pianistic personality, and she does that amazingly well. This is a dashing and dazzling performance. This CD is unreservedly recommended for pianophiles and general listeners alike, a proud achievement for Weiyin Chen’s debut album.
-- Fanfare, January, 2014
Highlights of Ms. Chen’s engagements for 2012-2013 included performances of the Brahms First Piano Concerto with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leon Fleisher, who traveled to Asia expressly for these concerts, as well as a gala concert with the Taiwan Philharmonic NSO and a North American recital tour. Ms. Chen’s 2013-14 season first took her to Taipei, Taiwan to perform with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra at the National Concert Hall. In December 2013 Ms. Chen debuted with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra in a Royal Celebration Concert celebrating the 86th Birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, where she performed Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Ms. Chen was also heard as soloist with the Kalamazoo Philharmonia in March 2014.
Ms. Chen has performed as soloist with most of the major orchestras in Asia, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra—with whom she made her debut under Maestro Edo de Waart—and the China National Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared at the Shanghai International Music Festival and many others. Recital engagements have taken her to France, the Netherlands, Panama, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Utah.
An accomplished chamber musician, Ms. Chen has participated in such festivals as La Jolla Summerfest, Verbier Festival & Academy, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Sarasota Music Festival, and the Banff Center, collaborating with such instrumentalists as violinists Cho-Liang Lin, Ilya Gringolts, Chee-Yun Kim, David Chan, Alina Pogostkina, violists Paul Neubauer and Cynthia Phelps, and cellist Gary Hoffman.
Ms. Chen’s musical education has included studies with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, and private study with Richard Goode and Claude Frank. She has also worked with Oxana Yablonskaya, Joseph Kalichstein and Herbert Stessin at the Juilliard School.