“Just a few years ago, Mei-Ann Chen was not well-known in the conducting world,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Sunday’s (3/17) Cincinnati Enquirer. “But a combination of tenacity and help from people who believed in her resulted in what she calls her ‘Cinderella story.’ … The Taiwan-born conductor made a big impression in Music Hall last season, when she stepped in on just a few days’ notice to lead Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Sheherazade’ with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and she did it from memory. Now the music director of the Memphis Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta, she will make her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut in May. Chen returns to Cincinnati this week for a concert that includes a world premiere of ‘Poem from a Vanished Time’ by Zhou Tian, Jennifer Higdon’s ‘Concerto for Orchestra’ and Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto with piano legend André Watts. She spoke from Memphis, where she is in her third year as music director of the Memphis Symphony.” Early on in her conducting career, Chen notes “I couldn’t get on the radar, and I didn’t have a manager. I had to go through a conducting program sponsored by the League of American Orchestras. In 2006, I won another competition.” That helped Chen get the audition with the Atlanta Symphony that led to her appointment as assistant conductor.

Posted March 18, 2013