Mei-Ann Chen, we hardly knew ye.
Although she was the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's assistant conductor for the past year year, most concert-goers never got a chance to experience her music-making here. Chen was largely confined to children's programs and serving as cover conductor; she never led a subscription program. But she has definitely caught the attention of the music world.
Chen, 37, has just been named music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, a dynamic ensemble known for the extraordinary ethnic and cultural diversity of its personnel, programming and guest artists. She succeeds Paul Freeman, who founded the Sinfonietta in 1987 and will step down after the 2010-2011 season. Freeman describes Chen as "an amazing talent and a real presence on the podium."
The Taiwan-born Chen, the first woman to win the Malko International Conductors Competition in 2005 and the 2007 recipient of the Taki Concordia Fellowship (founded by BSO music director Marin Alsop), will be kept busy beyond Chicago. In September, she begins her initial three-year tenure as music director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BSO
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