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Originally born in Taipei, Taiwan, Catherine Chen joined the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as Principal Bassoon, holding the Muriel C. and John D. Silbar Family Bassoon Chair in 2017 at the age of 24. Prior to her appointment with the Milwaukee Symphony, she won the Associate Principal Bassoon position with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the age of 22 and worked for one and a half seasons. While in her senior year studying at the Curtis Institute of Music, she held the Principal Bassoon position with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. Chen has performed with numerous orchestras across the country including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony, and more. As a soloist, Chen appears regularly with the Milwaukee Symphony and is recognized for her “elegant, buttery tone“ (The Shepherd Express). Chen’s Mozart concerto performances with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was described as “full of color and nuance…the cadenzas, which she had written, revealed some technically pristine, wonderfully musical playing”. During her summers, Chen has participated at prestigious music festivals such as Marlboro Music School and Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Music from Angel Fire Festival by invitation of violinist Ida Kavafian, North Shore Chamber Music Festival by invitation of violinist Vadim Gluzman, Music Academy of the West, Castleton Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Britt Music & Arts Festival Orchestra, and Lakes Area Music Festival. She started her bassoon education under the tutelage of Joyce Kelley, former Principal Bassoon of the New York City Opera, and went on to study with Marc Goldberg, former Associate Principal Bassoon of the New York Philharmonic, at the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School. Catherine later received her Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Daniel Matsukawa, Principal Bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Catherine Chen


Milwaukee, WI

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