Che-Yen Chen

Taiwanese-American violist Che-Yen Chen has established himself as an active performer and is a founding member of the Formosa Quartet.

He is the recipient of the First-Prize and the Amadeus Prize winner of the 10th London International String Quartet Competition. Since winning First-Prize in the 2003 Primrose International Viola Competition and the “President Prize” of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, Chen has been described by the Strad Magazine as a musician whose “tonal distinction and essential musicality produced an auspicious impression” and by San Diego Union Tribune as an artist whose “most impressive aspect of his playing was his ability to find not just the subtle emotion, but the humanity hidden in the music.”

Having served as principal violist of the San Diego Symphony for eight seasons, Chen is principal violist of the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and has appeared as guest principal with Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra.

A former member of Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two and participant of the Marlboro Music Festival, he is also a member of Camera Lucida  and  The  Myriad  Trio.  Chamber  music festival  appearances  include  the  Kingston Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music International, La Jolla Summerfest, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Taiwan Connection, and National Youth Orchestra of Canada where the Formosa Quartet serves as faculty quartet-in-residence.

In August 2013, the Quartet inaugurated its annual Formosa Chamber Music Festival (FCMF) in Hualien, Taiwan. Modeled after American summer festivals such as Ravinia, Taos, Marlboro, and Kneisel Hall, FCMF is the product of a long-held aspiration  and  represents  one  of  the  quartet’s  more  important  missions:  to  bring  high-level chamber music training to talented young musicians; to champion Taiwanese and Chinese music; and to bring first-rate chamber music to Taiwanese audiences.

Currently  teaching  at  both  University  of  Southern  California  Thornton  School  of  Music  and California  State  University  Fullerton,  Chen  has  previously  served  on the  faculties  of  Indiana University South Bend, UC San Diego, San Diego State University, and McGill University. He has participated in educational programs such as National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Camp, Interlochen, and Mimir Festival, and has given master-classes across USA and Asia, including schools  such  as  Taipei  National  University  of  the  Arts, National  Taiwan  University  of  Arts, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and The Juilliard School. As a laureate, Chen was invited to serve on the jury of the 2011 Primrose International Viola Competition.


A native of Taipei, Chen began his viola study with Ben Lin and went on to be a four-time winner  of  the  National  Viola  Competition  in  Taiwan.  He  came  to  the  U.S.  in  his  teens  to matriculate  at  the  Curtis  Institute  of  Music  and  The  Juilliard  School,  studying  with  such luminaries as Michael Tree, Joseph de Pasquale, Karen Tuttle and Paul Neubauer.