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. 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 great 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.
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.
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, and in 2019 she will perform it again in Taiwan in the National Concert Hall.
Her current projects include Fabian Müller’s ›Dialogues Cellestes‹, a concerto for two violoncellos and orchestra commissioned by Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses. ›Dialogues Cellestes‹ was recorded by Pi-Chin Chien and Antonio 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.
Pi-Chin Chien is passionate about chamber music. Among her regular partners are the violinist Willi Zimmermann and violist Ryszard Groblewski with whom she has formed the Ravan String Trio. . Together with Willi Zimmermann, she also performs as a soloist in addition to chamber music (2016 National Concert Hall Taipei Juon Triple Concerto, 2017 Festival Murten Classics Double Concerts by Saint-Säens and Pfitzner, Sinfonia Varsovia).
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
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.
Translation: Hannes Rox