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, Berlin Philharmonic and Konzerthaus as well as Tonhalle Zurich. 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. As a soloist she appears on CDs with, among others, David Zinman, Ruben Gazarian and Wen-Pin Chien, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London, the Krakow Philharmonic, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Ingolstadt Georgian Chamber Orchestra and the Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra.
In 2015 Pi-Chin Chien enjoyed great success with her album “Taiwan Rhapsody”, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London and released by Sony Classical, as well as the album "Tea for Two Cellos" (Solo-Musica), released in 2019. Current albums are "Strings on the Move" (2020), as well as the premiere recording of the complete work for cello and piano by the Swiss late-romantic composer Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (former professor at the Geneva Conservatory and founder of the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze), which will be released 2022.
In 2021 the music which she recorded for the film "A Letter to A'ma" by Hui-Ling Chen won two prizes for the "best film music" at the international independent film festivals "Les Rimbauds du Cinema" and "SMR13" in France.
Pi-Chin Chien performed at the Kaiser-Otto Medal award ceremony in honor 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. She 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.
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. In 2016, the Triple Concerto was first performed in Asia at the National Concert Hall in Taipei. Together with Willi Zimmermann, violin and Pi-Hsien Chen, piano, she played the work accompanied by the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra NTSO under the direction of Kaspar Zehnder.
She recently discovered the very original music of the late romantic Swiss composer Emile Jaques-Dalcroze and realized the premiere recording of his entire works for cello and piano. The album will be released in 2022.
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 took part in 2017/18 concert season in Germany, including the Berlin Philharmonic. In 2019 she performed it again in Taiwan in the "National Concert Hall" accompanied by the Taipei Chinese Orchestra TCO in a new version with traditional Chinese Orchestra.
Chamber music is Pi-Chin Chien's great passion. For ten years she was a member of the "European Fine Arts Trio" with whom she made the award-winning recording of the piano trios by Debussy and Chopin. With a network of friends and chamber music partners, she repeatedly realizes projects. These include Daniel Dodds (violin), Yvonne Lang (piano) Ming-Feng Hsin (violin) Hsing-Chweng Hsin (piano), Willi Zimmermann (violin) Ryszard Groblewski (viola) and many others. With Willi Zimmermann she also performed as a soloist (2016 National Concert Hall Taipei Juon Triple concerto, 2017 at the Festival "Murten Classics" with the double concertos by Saint-Säens and Pfitzner, with Sinfonia Varsovia/Kaspar Zehnder).
In 2012, Pi-Chin founded the Zurich Ensemble together with Fabio di Càsola, Kamilla Schatz and Benjamin Engeli. She was a member of the Ensemble Kandinsky, which connected classical music and visual art at venues such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and London’s Tate Modern Gallery.
Highlights of recent years
«Dialogues Cellestes» is a double concerto for two cellos and orchestra that Fabian Müller wrote for her and Antonio Meneses. The work was released with the two soloists in 2013 (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London, ARS production). The Swiss premiere took place in April 2014 and the Taiwan premiere in May 2012 at the National Concert Hall in Taipei.
In 2012 Pi-Chin Chien performed the world premiere of a special cello concerto dedicated to the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra entitled «Sirimadi». The work, inspired by a Thai-Buddhist legend, was commissioned by the Swiss Embassy to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Thai-Swiss relations. The Taiwan premiere took place in 2020 in the "National Concert Hall" accompanied by the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra ESO under the direction of Gernot Schmalfuss.
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.
Pi-Chin Chien is the artistic director of the "Confluence" music festival in Zurich, as well as the "Swiss Music Night" concert series in Taiwan, which is taking place for the ninth time in 2022.