About Chi-Chen Wu
As a musician active in performing, recording, teaching and research, Dr. Chi-Chen Wu is equally at home in the worlds of contemporary and classical music as well as historical performance practice.
Recently making her Carnegie Hall debut with the Helios trio, Wu has appeared as recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist in the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, among others. She has performed at numerous festivals including Aspen, Monadnock, and the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Concert Series. Her live performances have been broadcast on NPR’s live performance programs Simply Grand Concert Series, From The Top, and many others.
Chi-Chen’s musical collaborations include performances with Augustin Hadelich, Karl-Heinz Steffens, Jonathan McPhee, Zuill Bailey, Guy Johnston, members of the Juilliard String Quartet, Takács String Quartet, and musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
A native of Taiwan and prize winner of several Taiwanese national piano competitions, Wu came to the United States for graduate study at New England Conservatory of Music where she received two master’s degrees, (piano performance and collaborative piano) as well as a doctorate. Upon her graduation, with Distinction in Performance and Academic Honors, she was appointed Assistant Professor at National Taiwan Normal University.
In 2007, Dr. Wu accepted a position of visiting scholar at Cornell University, where she taught piano, studied fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson, and conducted research on historical performance practice with Neal Zaslaw.
As part of her research activities, in the summer of 2012 she presented a paper on Schumann’s metronome markings at the World Piano Conference in Serbia. This paper received “Diploma of Excellence” from the World Piano Teachers Association, the highest accolade of this organization. Her paper “Pianist as Portrayer of Imagery in ‘En Sourdine’ by Fauré and Debussy” was published as the featured article in the Journal of Singing.
As an interpreter of contemporary music, Chi-Chen Wu was the pianist of Aggregate, a Boston-based composer group. She premiered the piano version of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby at Jordan Hall, The Poet and the War by Norber Palej, and Ralf Gawlick’s Herzliche Grüße Bruno, a one-hour electro-acoustic composition. Recent notable contemporary music performances include Piano Concertino by George Perle and Malcolm Williamson’s Concerto No. 2 as soloist with Pacifica Chamber Orchestra in Seattle.
Chi-Chen’s album of Schumann Fantasie and Carnaval on a Graf fortepiano won an award for Best Classical Album in the Global Music Awards. Her recording of Schumann’s complete sonatas for piano and violin also on a Graf fortepiano received two gold medals from the same competition. American Record Guide selected it as one of the top recordings of this repertoire and recommends its readers to “Stick with Kremer and Argerich or DiEugenio and Wu.” It was also named in the Top 10 “Best Classical Recordings of 2015″ by The Big City, New York. Her recital and discussion with Malcolm Bilson on piano collaboration are featured on his DVD “Performing the Score” released in 2011.
Some highlights of her recent professional activities include a recital with Augustin Hadelich, performances as soloist in Wölfl’s Piano Concerto No. 1 as well as Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and a concert at the Nuremberg Symphony Hall in Germany. In Fall 2021, Chi-Chen was invited by the composition department of the University of Florida to conduct a residency, where she worked with their composers and recorded 6 pieces written for her duo with cellist Sam Ou. Recently, she started a 5-year project of commissioning and recording new works by BIPOC woman composers. She is also recording a piece by Chris Shelton for piano and interactive software. In addition to working on contemporary compositions, she and violinist John Fadialrecently finished recording the complete duo works by Gabriel Fauré on an 1865 Pleyel in collaboration with Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards.
In the fall of 2023, Dr. Wu joined the faculty at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, School of Music as Associate Professor of Piano and Keyboard Area Chair. Previously, she served as Associate Professor of Piano and Collaborative Piano Coordinator at the University of Wyoming. Her students have been prizewinners in international competitions and have been accepted for graduate study to the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, McGill University, Conservatoire de Paris and other such institutions. As a teacher of top winners, she has received Excellence in Teaching Awards from Great Masters International Piano Competition and Taiwan International Classical and Traditional Music Awards, among others.
“…the soul of the composer resonates with her, as heard in her superb control of rubato rhythm, and the bristling excitement of her melodic phrasing. Her pacing, as well, comes off as intuitively flowing. The second sense is the natural ease of her technique, which is so unforced that it is actually much more astonishing than a casual listening might indicate.” – Fanfare
“The first two sonatas are interpreted brilliantly, largely thanks to Wu. … If you love these sonatas, this disc is a must-have.” – American Record Guide
“The blistering speed Ms. Wu adopted in the Scherzo showed her credentials as a pianist to be admired.” “I found pianist Chi-Chen Wu to be extremely virtuosic…” “This journey was gorgeously rendered…” – New York Concert Review
“The seamless ensemble helps us to hear these works in a single united voice in which the violin provides the intimate, lyric core and the piano an almost symphonic, expansive texture of breathless virtuosity.” –Historical Keyboard Society of North America
“I know no other music that depends so much on the interpreters for an effective realization. […] Stick with Kremer and Argerich or DiEugenio and Wu for more enthusiastic performances.” – American Record Guide
DMA, New England Conservatory
MM, New England Conservatory
BM, National Taiwan Normal University