Pi-Chin Chien, Violoncello
Pi-Chin Chien is a sought-after, internationally active soloist and chamber musician. She has performed in major concert venues around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Konzerthaus Berlin and Tonhalle Zurich. She appears as a soloist on recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra London and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra under the direction of David Zinman, Ruben Gazarian and Wen-Pin Chien. In 2015 Pi-Chin Chien enjoyed enormous success with her album “Taiwan Rhapsody”, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London and released by Sony Classical.
Pi-Chin Chien has performed and recorded world premieres of a number of violoncello concertos and chamber music works, including several compositions dedicated to her.
She performed at the Kaiser-Otto Medal award ceremony in honour of the late former German President Richard von Weizsäcker, and in 2016, already for the second time, at the renowned concert series at Taiwan’s Presidential Palace on invitation of the President of Taiwan. Pi-Chin Chien is the artistic director of the “Swiss Music Night” concert series in Taiwan and of the “Confluence” Music Festival in Zurich.
A native of Taiwan, Pi-Chin Chien studied with Markus Stocker, Claude Starck, Marek Jerie and Stanislaw Apolin in Zurich, Lucerne and Prague, graduating with a soloist’s diploma with distinction. She received further artistic impulses in masterclasses with Pierre Fournier, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Daniil Shafran and Arto Noras. Pi-Chin Chien has won numerous awards at national and international music competitions.
„Pi-Chin Chien was born to play the cello … she is the talent for which I have been waiting for decades.” – Pierre Fournier after hearing her play for the first time, as reported by the China Times, Taiwan. Pi-Chin Chien was born in Taiwan. Her musical talent was spotted very early on, and at the age of thirteen, she performed Saint-Saën’s Violoncello Concerto on a concert tour together with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. She continued her studies in Europe with Markus Stocker, Claude Starck, Marek Jerie and Stanislaw Apolin in Zurich, Lucerne and Prague, graduating with a soloist’s diploma with distinction. She received further artistic impulses in masterclasses with Pierre Fournier, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Daniil Shafran, and Arto Noras.
Pi-Chin Chien has won numerous awards, including several first prizes at Taiwan’s National Music Competition and a Special Prize at the Leonard Rose Competition in Washington DC. She has won scholarships and prizes in Switzerland, including the Sponsorship Award of the City of Zurich, the Kiwanis Prize, the Koecker Prize, and the Edwin Fischer Prize. She also won of the Swiss Young Musicians Competition sponsored by UBS.
Activity as a soloist and special projects
Pi-Chin Chien is a champion of works by lesser known composers. Her premiere recordings of the Sonata for Violoncello, the Cello Concerto ›Mysterien‹, and the Triple Concerto ›Episodes Concertantes‹ have contributed to the rediscovery of the late romantic composer Paul Juon.
Pi-Chin Chien has performed and recorded the world premieres of a number of violoncello concertos and chamber music works, including several compositions dedicated to her.
In 2015, Pi-Chin enjoyed great success with “Taiwan Rhapsody”, an album of romantic-symphonic rhapsodies for violoncello and orchestra based on folksongs of her native Taiwan, written by her husband, the Swiss composer Fabian Müller and released on the Sony Classical label. On this recording she is accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London under the direction of Wen-Pin Chien. In January 2015, Pi-Chin premiered “Taiwan Rhapsody” together with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan. Further performances are planned for the 2017/18 concert season in Germany, including at the Berliner Philharmonie.
Her current projects include Fabian Müller’s ›Dialogues Cellestes‹, a concerto for two violoncellos and orchestra commissioned by Brazilian cellist Antônio Meneses. ›Dialogues Cellestes‹ was recorded by Pi-Chin Chien and Antônio Meneses together with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013 and released on the ARS Produktion label. The Taiwanese premiere took place at the National Concert Hall in Taipei in 2012; the Swiss premiere followed in April 2014.
In 2012, Pi-Chin Chien presented the world premiere of Fabian Müller’s Cello Concerto ›Sirimadi‹. Inspired by a Thai-Buddhist legend, ›Sirimadi‹ was commissioned by the Swiss embassy in Thailand to celebrate the 80-year anniversary of Thai-Swiss relations and is dedicated to the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra.
Pi-Chin Chien is the artistic director of the “Confluence” Music Festival in Zurich and of the “Swiss Music Night” concert series in Taiwan, which took place for the fourth time in 2017. In 2016, she presented Paul Juon’s masterwork, the Triple Concerto ›Episodes Concertantes‹ for the first time in Taiwan together with Willi Zimmermann (violin), Pi-Hsien Chen (piano) and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Kaspar Zehnder.
Pi-Chin Chien is passionate about chamber music. Among her regular partners are the violinist Willi Zimmermann, violist Ryszard Groblewski and pianist Roberto Paruzzo, with whom she has formed two ensembles, the Ravan String Trio and the Ravan Piano Trio. www.ravantrio.com
In 2012, Pi-Chin founded the Zurich Ensemble together with Fabio di Càsola, Kamilla Schatz and Benjamin Engeli. She is a member of the Ensemble Kandinsky, which brings together classical music and visual art at venues such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and London’s Tate Modern Gallery.
Highlights of recent years
Pi-Chin Chien recorded Fabian Müller’s first Cello Concerto together with the Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of David Zinman for the ›col legno‹ label. She also made several recordings with works by Swiss composers for the ›Musiques Suisses‹ label, including works for violoncello and piano together with Adrian Oetiker, and concertante works with Adrian Oetiker (piano), Harry White (saxophone) and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
Pi-Chin made the world premiere recording of Paul Juon’s Cello Concerto ›Mysterien‹ together with the Cracow Philharmonic conducted by Tomasz Bugaj and collaborated with the Petersen Quartet on a recording for the Capriccio label.
She performed at the award ceremony of the Kaiser-Otto Medal of the City of Magdeburg in honour of the late former German President Richard von Weizsäcker. She has already played twice, in 1998 and 2016, in the renowned concert series at Taiwan’s Presidential Palace on invitation of the President of Taiwan.
Translation: Hannes Rox