Our last guest from afar is already a part of the TCO family: Dr Chih-Sheng Chen from Taiwan. Over the years, we have had quite a few performances and exchanges together and every time, Dr. Chen has helped us grow musically and inspired us to do more. We are honoured to have him as a panelist at our Workshop on June 8th and conduct our Butterfly Lovers Concert on June 9th.
One of the most prominent conductors in Taiwan, Chih-Sheng Chen founded the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra (gCO) in 2000. Acting as the music director and conductor, the orchestra strikes to present Chinese music of the highest quality to a wide range of audiences. Chen has produced/conducted close to one thousand concerts, including the orchestra’s national and international tours and a full season at Taiwan’s National Concert Hall. He also presents educational programs throughout Taiwan, and collaborates with various organizations. Under his leadership, the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra was nominated by the Taishin Arts Awards for the Best Performing Arts category in Taiwan 2011.
Chen is active on the international stage as a conductor, educator, and arts administrator, crossing between the disciplines of Chinese music, cross-cultural music, and western contemporary music, and in both orchestral and chamber music settings. He has been a guest conductor in Europe (Atlas Ensemble, Amsterdam), Canada (Sound of Dragon Ensemble, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, Toronto Chinese Orchestra, Edmonton Chinese Orchestra, BC Chinese Orchestra, BC Chinese Ensemble, Dim Sum Ensemble); China (Zhejiang Song and Dance Theatre Chinese Orchestra, Heilongjiang Song and Dance Theatre Chinese Orchestra, Shenfeng Ensemble of Beijing Central Conservatory, Henan Ping Ding Mountain Chinese Orchestra, and Beijing, Chongqing, Chengdu, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Henan, Guangdong, Jilin Chinese Orchestra), South Asia (Singapore Ding Yi Orchestra), and Taiwan (Quanta Philharmonic Orchestra, Evergreen Symphony, Taiwan Chinese Orchestra, Kaoshiung Chinese Orchestra). He has been frequently invited to conduct the ensembles at various universities and schools throughout China, including the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. From 2004 to 2008, Chen was the Associate Conductor of the Taipei Chinese Youth Orchestra and Teachers Orchestra. He was the executive director of the Quanta Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, Chen gives lectures and master classes on arts administration, ensemble training, and orchestral development.
Chen holds a master degree in conducting from Taiwan’s Fu Jen Catholic University, under the guidance of professor Lian-Chang Kuo. He started his musical training as an erhu player at the age of ten. He studied conducting with Ying Lee, and theory with Chao-ying Huang and Shi-Pei Ding. At the same time, Chen holds a Ph. D from the Institute of Microbiology and Biochemistry of the National Taiwan University. His solid musical training, many years of performance experiences, knowledge of diverse genres and styles, and organizational skills from his science background all contribute to his success in building and managing one of the largest and most active Chinese orchestras in the world. “Chinese music is my true calling in life,” he says.