Che-Hung Chen, viola

Violist Che-Hung Chen has been a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra since the spring of 2001, when he was hired by then Music Director Wolfgang Sawallisch, becoming the first Taiwanese citizen ever to join the Orchestra. He has also served as acting associate principal viola under former Music Director Christoph Eschenbach.

Mr. Chen was the first-prize winner at the Seventh Banff International String Quartet Competition as a founding member of the Daedalus Quartet; he was also awarded the Pièce de concert prize for the best performance of the commissioned work and the Székely Prize for the best performance of a Beethoven quartet. A three-time top-prize winner at the Taiwan National Instrumental Competition, Mr. Chen began his studies at the age of six with Ben Lin in his native Taipei, and he later entered the Curtis Institute of Music at age 14, where he studied with Joseph dePasquale, retired Philadelphia Orchestra principal viola. Mr. Chen has served as principal viola of the Curtis Symphony and has recently appeared as guest principal viola with the San Diego Symphony and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Chen was a participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, performed on its 50th anniversary concerts in Boston and New York’s Carnegie Hall, and took part in several Musicians from Marlboro tours throughout the United States. He has collaborated in chamber music settings with members of the Guarneri, Orion, Miami, Tokyo, and Ying string quartets, and artists such as Martha Argerich, Yefim Bronfman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lang Lang, Leonidas Kavakos, and Hilary Hahn. Performing annually at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival in Rhode Island, where his wife, pianist Natalie Zhu is the artistic director, Mr. Chen has also participated in such festivals as Ravinia, Caramoor, Saratoga, and Bridgehampton, and Music from Angel Fire.

Mr. Chen currently serves on the faculty of Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and its Preparatory Division, and he has given master classes at the Philadelphia International Music Festival and the Luzern Music Center. He performs on a viola made by Carlo Antonio Testore in Milan, Italy, c. 1756.