- John Chen
New Zealand pianist John Chen launched his career by winning the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition, where he also won prizes for his interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chamber music and Concerto. Since then, he has performed across Europe, Asia, North America, and extensively in Australia and New Zealand, including performances at significant festivals such as Klavierfestival Ruhr and Singapore International Piano Festival. He has performed concertos with all the major orchestras in Australia and New Zealand as well as among others, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and has worked with notable conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jeffrey Kahane, Janos Furst, Christopher Seaman, Christoph Poppen and Oleg Caetani. He has recorded CDs for Naxos (complete solo piano works of Henri Dutilleux) and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Debussy and Ravel).
Mr Chen is the pianist in the Saguaro Piano Trio, which took first prize at the Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition in 2009, where they also won the prize for the best performance of a work by Brahms. The Saguaro Piano Trio has performed in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Japan, including concerts at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and at the Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festivals. In 2010 they gave the world premiere of American composer Philip Maneval’s second Piano Trio, and in 2011 premieres of works by New Zealand composer Alwyn Westbrooke and Australian composer Rosalind Page. They have been broadcast on national radio in Germany, Australia and New Zealand, and recorded a CD of Haydn, Babadjanian and Ravel for Fontenay Classics. They are currently studying chamber music at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater with Niklas Schmidt.
Mr Chen began piano studies in Auckland at the age of three. At age 18, he received his Master of Music from the University of Auckland under Rae de Lisle. In 2008, he was honoured as the University of Auckland’s Young Alumnus of the Year. He completed an Artist Diploma at Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles in 2009 under John Perry, and he now studies privately with Volker Banfield.
Mr Chen is deeply committed to New Zealand music, giving the world premieres of works by New Zealand composers Jenny McLeod, Ross Harris, Gao Ping, Robin Toan, Alwyn Westbrooke, Claire Cowan and Tony Lin (the latter two, works he commissioned himself).Source: John Chen, September 2011