Twenty-year-old John Chen was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, having moved there with his parents at the age of 11 months. He commenced piano studies at the age of three. From the age of eight, Chen studied with Rae de Lisle for 11 years, and under her tutelage, gained a Master of Music from the University of Auckland in 2005, at just 18 years of age. He has completed one year of Artist Diploma studies in Los Angeles at the Colburn School’s Conservatory of Music under the instruction of John Perry and has recently returned from a major concert tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Chen was the youngest winner in the competition’s 27-year history when he won the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2004. At this competition, he won special prizes for his performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as chamber music and 19th- and 20th-century concertos. Chen also won the Lev Vlassenko Australasian Piano Competition in 2003, where he swept all of the special prizes.
Besides his recent and extensive performances throughout Australia and his homeland of New Zealand, John Chen’s international appearances have included the United States, Japan and Germany (at the prestigious Ruhr Festival). Chen is an active chamber musician, regularly touring with Chamber Music New Zealand and performing with the New Zealand String Quartet. He has also worked as an orchestral pianist for the Auckland Philharmonia.
John Chen has recently recorded the complete solo piano works of Dutilleux for the Naxos label and a selection of Debussy and Ravel for ABC Classics. He is also active in classical contemporary music, having given world premieres of solo works by New Zealand composers Ross Harris, Jenny McLeod and Claire Cowan, as well as Australian composer Roger Smalley’s piano concerto. This concert marks Chen’s LACO debut.