First Prize, 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition
2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant
2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award
"Her graceful, singing line, gleaming tone, and breathtaking use of pianissimo made the Tully Hall crowd sit bolt upright."
Lauded for her “phenomenal maturity” and “fresh and spontaneous, yet emotionally profound and intellectually well-structured performance” (Jerusalem Post), American violinist Stella Chen has been bursting onto the world stage following her first prize win at the 2019 Queen Elizabeth International Violin Competition. In the last year alone, Stella was named a recipient of a prestigious 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant and 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award.
Concerto highlights for Stella in the upcoming season include appearances with the Chicago Symphony, Hangzhou Philharmonic, and her Lincoln Center concerto debut with the Juilliard Orchestra featuring the U.S. premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Concerto No. 2, conducted by the composer. In her most recent season, Stella had debuts with the Belgian National Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, the Luxembourg Philharmonia, and many others. She also made first appearances at the Salzburg Mozarteum, Ravinia, and Kronberg Academy Festivals, and performed throughout Europe, East Asia, and India, including a concert tour of South Korea.
Stella’s approach to music-making is fundamentally guided by the concept of exploration: deep-diving into the works she performs, looking into interpersonal and collaborative approaches, and seeking opportunities for cross-cultural exchange. This perspective guides such projects as her ongoing investigation of Schubert’s Fantasie for Piano and Violin, a phenomenal example of vulnerability, sincerity, and humanity in music.
Her dedication to this perspective manifests as well in her many treasured collaborations with phenomenal artists. Collaborative partners have included extraordinary musicians such as Itzhak Perlman, Robert Levin, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Stéphane Denève, Matthew Lipman, and the Silk Road Ensemble. She has appeared as a chamber musician in festivals including the Perlman Music Program, Music@Menlo, the Sarasota Festival, and YellowBarn. She is a member of the Bowers Program at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center starting in the 2021-2022 season.
Stella enjoys the privilege of cross-cultural exchange through performances and educational experiences. She and colleagues at Harvard University represented Western classical music at the first Bhutan International Festival, a multicultural celebration of the arts on the occasion of the 35th birthday of the King of Bhutan. She was also a part of the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute trip to Cuba and participated in performances at the Festival de Música de Cámara as well as opportunities to interact with young Cuban musicians in an educational capacity. With the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, Stella visited Jordan and Israel on a tour that she considers very important to her musical and personal growth.
Stella believes in the importance of cultivating an appreciation for classical music among the younger generations, and as such devotes time and energy to teaching. To this end, Stella has worked with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and serves as a teaching assistant for her longtime mentor Li Lin at the Juilliard School.
She is the first recipient of the Robert Levin Award from Harvard University, the top prize winner of the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition and youngest ever prize winner of the Menuhin Competition. She has given solo performances at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, WQXR’s Greene Space, Rockefeller University, and on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago. Other concerto appearances include those with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín, London Chamber Orchestra, and Welsh National Symphony Orchestra.
A graduate of the Harvard/New England Conservatory Dual Degree Program, Stella received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with honors from Harvard University and a Master of Music from NEC. Stella is currently finishing up her studies as C.V. Starr doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School, writing her dissertation on one of her favorite pieces of music, Schubert’s Fantasie for Piano and Violin. She is a professional studies candidate at Kronberg Academy. Teachers and mentors include Mihaela Martin, Li Lin, Donald Weilerstein, Itzhak Perlman, and Miriam Fried. She plays the ‘Huggins’ 1708 Stradivarius violin, generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
In her free time, Stella loves figure skating and is a big fan of NCT and all of its sub-groups.