Pianist Melvin Chen is one of the few musicians who can claim to be a virtuoso performer on more than one instrument: he holds master's degrees from the Juilliard School of Music in both piano and violin performance. But his educational resumé hardly ends there: he has bachelor's degrees in both chemistry and physics from Yale University and possesses a doctorate from Harvard in chemistry! While he has centered much of his concert activity in the United States with appearances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Frick Collection, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Chautauqua and Bard Music festivals, and numerous other major venues, he has also regularly concertized throughout Europe and Asia. He has performed on Korean radio and television (KBS) as well as on Japanese television (NHK), and in the U.S. over National Public Radio. Chen appears not only as a soloist and recitalist, but as a chamber music player, often in concerts with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. His repertory is broad and unusually varied, mixing the well-known and lesser-known, the time-honored and the contemporary: Beethoven, Hummel, Chopin, Liszt, Moscheles, Gershwin, Earl Kim, Joan Tower, Ricky Ian Gordon, and many others. Chen's recordings are available from Naxos, Bridge, New World Records, and Ghostlight.
Melvin Chen was born in Seattle, WA, on April 17, 1970. His list of music teachers is nearly as impressive as his academic accomplishments: at Yale he studied piano with Boris Berman and violin with Paul Kantor and Ida Kavafian; at Juilliard he took instruction on piano from Seymour Lipkin and on violin from Glenn Dicterow.
Chen was an active performer throughout the 1990s, much of the time in chamber music performance, appearing with such artists as Pamela Frank, Ida Kavafian, David Shifrin, Steven Isserlis, and many other front-rank players.
While Chen has continued regular chamber music concerts in the new century, he has become recognized in the U.S. and abroad as one of the leading virtuoso solo pianists of his generation. His highly praised 2006 recording of the Beethoven Diabelli Variations on Bridge helped usher in what would become a flood of critical acclaim. Among Chen's recordings in 2007 was a CD of Shostakovich sonatas and piano works, also on the Bridge label. Chen teaches piano at Bard College Conservatory of Music and previously taught piano at Yale School of Music.