Hailed by The New York Times as a pianist with “a graceful touch… rhythmic precision… hypnotic charm” and “sure, subtle touch,” Han Chen is a distinctive artist whose credentials at a young age already include important prizes in competitions of traditional music as well as increasing respect in the avant-garde.
Mr. Chen’s debut CD with Naxos Records, which consists of all-Liszt operatic transcriptions, was released in January 2016 as the first prize winner of the 6th China International Piano Competition. Gramophone complimented Mr. Chen’s “brilliant performance” in the CD as “impressively commanding and authoritative.” The website Classics Today also praised for his “assured, elegant and totally effortless technique” by scoring 10 out of 10 in both artistic quality and sound quality. International Piano magazine (UK) described Mr. Chen’s performance in the competition as “[Chen] displayed extraordinary strength, talent and flair.” In addition to the recent champion, he was also the winner of the International Russian Music Piano Competition, the Hong Kong International Piano Competition, the 26th Chimei Art Prize, among others. His extraordinary performances in the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the 15th Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition, and the 11th International Franz Liszt Competition were also highly acclaimed.
As a soloist, Mr. Chen has appeared with many orchestras, including Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (under Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy), the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival Brass Ensemble, the China Symphony Orchestra, Macao Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Conservatory Middle School Orchestra, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and Xiamen National Orchestra.
Being an advocate for modern music, Mr. Chen actively performs music from the 20th and the 21st century. As a member of the New York-based contemporary music group Ensemble Échappé, he worked with composers such as Tonia Ko, Kevin Puts, Sean Shepherd and Nina Young. At the Lucerne Festival Academy founded by Pierre Boulez, he worked with composers Unsuk Chin, Helmut Lachenmann and Johannes Maria Staud, conductors Heinz Holliger, Matthias Pintscher and Simon Rattle. His close collaboration with the Juilliard modern music ensemble AXIOM led him to the performance of music by John Adams, Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Toshio Hosokawa, Gyorgy Kurtag, Magnus Lindberg, Steve Reich, and Charles Wuorinen. He celebrated John Cage’s centennial birthday in 2012 by performing his complete Sonatas and Interludes in Paul Hall, Juilliard. His recital at the Spectrum, the new-music hub in downtown New York, where he played music by Elliott Carter, Missy Mazzoli, Milica Paranosic, and Caroline Shaw, was on the critic’s pick of Time Out New York and I Care If You Listen.
A native of Taichung, Taiwan, Mr. Chen moved to Shanghai at the age of nine, where he attended the Shanghai Conservatory Elementary & Middle Schools. His teachers included Meng-hua Wu, Tsuifong Hung, Siyi Wu, Christopher Zhong, and Kuan-wen Wang. After his study in Shanghai, he moved to New York and received his accelerated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree of Music from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Professor Yoheved Kaplinsky. He then enrolled in the Graduate Diploma program at the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Professor Wha Kyung Byun. He was a recipient of the C/Kaplan Piano Scholarship, the Susan W. Rose Piano Fellowship, the Van Cliburn Alumni Scholarship, and the Tan Family Education Grant. Mr. Chen is now a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, studying with Prof. Kaplinsky and Prof. Ursula Oppens.