This is the edited video of the 9th interview of the series “A Coffee With…”. On this occasion my guest was the Taiwanese-American orchestra conductor Mei-Ann Chen. The original “Coffee with…” took place on Friday June 26th 2020 on my Facebook wall. It was simultaneously transmitted on Music Without Quarantine.
Mei-Ann Chen has been living in the United States since 1989. She was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. As a child she learnt how to play the violin, the piano and also taught herself how to play the trumpet. However, from a very early stage, she always knew she wanted to become an orchestra conductor. Mei-Ann learnt some conducting skills from Henri Mazer. After an audition in the basement of a hotel, the conductor Benjamin Zander granted her a scholarship and gave her the opportunity to move to the United States, where she continued with her musical studies to become a conductor. It was in Madrid, where she had her unofficial debut conducting a movement of the 5th Symphony by Gustav Mahler (an anecdote she explains on the video; don’t miss that out!). Currently she is the principal of the Chicago Sinfonietta and the principal guest conductor of the Grosses Orchester Graz.
During our virtual coffee, we speak about the early years of Mei-Ann as a student and how everything went on until she became an orchestra conductor. For me it was a really interesting “conversation over coffee”. I can tell Mei-Ann is a woman full of energy, really, really enthusiastic, tremendously hard-working and a great leader. Some of the names she mentions on the video are: Henry Mazer, Benjamin Zander, Yo-Yo Ma, Marylou Speaker Churchill, Eric Rosenblith, James Buswell, Reena Esmail, Jeassy Montgomery and many more… Do you want to get to know Mei-Ann Chen? Just watch the video. If you don’t know her yet, you’ll make a great discovery. Honestly! And if you know her already, I’m sure this conversation will be a discovery for you as well!
Previous “Coffee with…” guests were: the conductor Marco Antonio García de Paz, the music critic Arturo Reverter and accordionist Iñaki Alberdi, the composer & music critic Robert Hugill, the bass singer & lutenist Joel Frederiksen, the conductor Cristóbal Soler, the music agent Andreea Butucariu and musicologist & cornetto player Bruce Dickey.
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