Che-Yen Chen Viola

sponsor: Ronald Welch

Taiwanese-American violist Che-Yen Chen has established himself as an active performer and educator. Since winning First Prize in the 2003 Primrose International Viola Competition and the “President Prize” of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, he was described as a musician whose “most impressive aspect of his playing was his ability to find not just the subtle emotion, but the humanity hidden in the music.” As the founding and former member of the Formosa Quartet, he won the first prize in the 2006 London International String Quartet Competition, founded the Formosa Chamber Music Festival in Taiwan, and has released recordings on EMI, Delos, New World, and Bridge Records. Chen was the principal violist of the San Diego Symphony and Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra for eight years and has appeared as guest principal viola with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Toronto Symphony. A former Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two member, Chen frequently performs and teaches at music festivals across North America and Asia. Professor of Viola Performance and Chamber Music at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Chen has previously served on the faculty of USC Thornton School of Music, UC San Diego, San Diego State University, California State University Fullerton, and McGill University. A native of Taipei, Chen began his viola study with Ben Lin and became a four-time winner of the National Viola Competition in Taiwan. As a fourteen- year-old, he came to the U.S.A. to matriculate at The Curtis Institute of Music under the mentorship of Michael Tree and Joseph de Pasquale and later at The Juilliard School studying viola performance and string quartet with Paul Neubauer and The Juilliard Quartet. Chen joined the renowned Ehnes Quartet in 2023.