Daily News

Mei-Ann Chen Named Artistic Advisor of Springfield Symphony Orchestra

Mei-Ann Chen

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) announced that internationally acclaimed conductor Mei-Ann Chen, who was guest conductor for the SSO’s 2023-24 opening-night performance, is joining the SSO in the newly created position of artistic advisor, effective for the 2024-25 season.

Chen will serve as the orchestra’s artistic face, curating programs, selecting guest soloists, and facilitating other artistic needs. She will also conduct a minimum of two symphonic concerts per season. At the same time, the SSO will continue to engage guest conductors in performances of the symphony.

Since the orchestra’s opening-night concert, “A Festive 80th Anniversary Year,” Chen’s skills were recognized by the SSO as a critical artistic voice as it moves forward in building its audience and diversifying its symphonic offerings.

“We are thrilled, as we surpass 80 years of sharing beautiful music in the city of Springfield and with the region, to begin an exciting new era of innovation, creativity, and memorable music collaborations with the guidance of Maestra Mei-Ann Chen,” said Paul Lambert, president and CEO of the SSO. “Her energy, artistic vision, incredible ideas, and musical drive align perfectly with our plans for growth and engagement as we evolve our music making and work to inspire current and future audiences. Our growing community of music lovers has shared their enjoyment of new faces on the podium for performances, which will continue with Chen’s guidance.”

Added Paul Friedmann, SSO board chair, “on behalf of the SSO board, I welcome Mei-Ann Chen and the energy and artistic sensibility she brings to the SSO. She will be an important creative asset by helping us to present concerts that will inspire both our loyal longtime subscribers and those new to live symphonic music.”

An acclaimed, innovative leader both on and off the podium, Chen has served as music director of Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011. Chief conductor of Austria’s Recreation – Grosses Orchester Graz at Styriarte, she also serves as an artistic partner with ROCO in Texas and Northwest Sinfonietta in Washington.

A sought-after guest conductor, she has appeared with distinguished orchestras throughout the Americas, Europe, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia (more than 150 orchestras to date). Named one of Musical America’s 2015 Top 30 Influencers, Chen is a recipient of a League of American Orchestras Helen M. Thompson Award, a Taki Concordia fellowship, and several ASCAP awards, and is the only woman in the history of the Malko Competition to have been named First Prize Winner.

“It is an honor to join an icon in Massachusetts’ cultural scene,” Chen said. “The extraordinary musicianship, the commitment, and energy of this organization excites me. I look forward to working with this incredibly talented ensemble of musicians and exceptionally devoted staff introducing new ways to experience and appreciate music, sharing ideas and introducing innovative programs that continue to build upon the dynamic legacy of creativity and inclusion that Springfield Symphony Orchestra has achieved over the past eight decades.”