GUEST RECITAL - Robert Chen, violin

14 Sep 2017 - 7:30pm

Robert Chen, violin
Benjamin Loeb, piano

Mozart: Sonata for piano and violin in B-flat major
Stravinsky: Suite Italienne
Brahms: Sonata #3 in D minor
Ravel: Tzigane

Robert Chen has been concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1999. During his years as the CSO concertmaster, he has been featured as soloist with Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Ton Koopman, Osmo Vänskä, Vasily Petrenko, Nicholas Kraemer and James Conlon. He gave the CSO premiere of György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, Elliott Carter’s Violin Concerto, and Witold Lutoslawski’s Chain Two, as well as the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Astral Canticle.

In addition to his duties as concertmaster, Chen enjoys a solo career that include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra of Hanover, Asia Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony, collaborating with conductors such as Myung-Whun Chung, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Pavel Kogan and Andreas Delfs.

An avid chamber musician, Chen has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Christoph Eschenbach, Myung-Whun Chung, Emanuel Ax, Mitsuko Uchida, Lynn Harrell, and János Starker. A frequent participant at numerous festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, and the Schloss Moritzburg Festival, he also has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro and is a founding member of the Johannes Quartet. 

Prior to joining the CSO, Robert Chen won first prize in the Hanover International Violin Competition. As part of that prize, he recorded Tchaikovsky’s complete violin works for the Berlin Klassics label. 

A native of Taiwan, Robert Chen began his violin studies at the age of seven. He continued his studies with Robert Lipsett when he and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1979. While in Los Angeles, he participated in Jascha Heifetz’s master classes. Chen received both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music from the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki. 

Experienced arts administrator, accomplished soloist, accompanist, conductor, arranger, educator, and entrepreneur Benjamin Loeb has served primarily as the Executive Director of the Quad City (Iowa) Symphony Orchestra since 2013. His piano performances have been heralded by the Boston Globe: “[his] vigorous, cogent playing signaled the kind of equally weighted partnership, plus competition, plus mutual quest, etc. that [makes] this music live.” In May 2015, he performed Morton Gould’s Interplay with the Boston Pops Orchestra at the invitation and under the direction of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. He has also collaborated as concerto soloist with many other conductors including JoAnn Falletta, Carl St. Clair, and Rossen Milanov. His widely varied projects range from concerts of Beethoven and Bruckner Symphonies to recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of Italian 16th century madrigalists to tours with popular rock musicians to world premieres of the most cutting-edge avant-garde contemporary music.