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December, 21, 2022
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM




Soo Han

Soo Han

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Modern Professional Symphony Orchestra

Clinic Synopsis:

Mei-Ann Chen, Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, discusses the process of selecting repertoire, the championing of BIPOC artists, composers and players, and the importance of diversity when programming performances and creating an ensemble. The Maestro will offer a glimpse into how a modern professional orchestra addresses these important initiatives and why they matter moving forward, providing insight into where the classical music industry is and should be heading with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Mei-Ann Chen - Biographical Information

Praised for her dynamic, passionate conducting style, Taiwanese American conductor Mei-Ann Chen is acclaimed for infusing orchestras with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, galvanizing audiences and communities alike. Music Director of the 2016 MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011, Ms. Chen is highly regarded as a compelling communicator and an innovative leader both on and off the podium. Also a sought-after guest conductor, Ms. Chen continues to expand her relationships with orchestras worldwide (over 110 orchestras to date).Upcoming highlights for 2020 – 2021 season include debut at Vienna's Musikverein with Tonkünstler Orchester and debuts with Würth Philharmonic in Germany and Helsinki Philharmonic in Finland, as well as return engagements to San Francisco Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic in Norway, Norrlandsoperan in Sweden, and serving on the jury for the prestigious Malko Competition for Young Conductors in 2021. Debuts with New York Philharmonic & Carnegie Hall’s NYO2, Basque National Orchestra in Spain, and Staatsorchester Darmstadt in Germany, an engagement with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (Ms Chen was scheduled to conduct the opening season concert at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw), and with the Taiwan Philharmonic have been postponed due to COVID.Recent guesting highlights include England’s BBC Symphony in London, Finland’s Tampere Filharmonia, Germany’s NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover, Netherland’s Residentie Orkest at The Hague, Sweden’s Gävle & Helsingborg Symphonies, Switzerland’s Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra at Weiwuying (the world’s largest performing arts center since 2018), in addition to return engagements with symphonies of America’s Atlanta, Detroit, and Pacific.Other North American guesting credits include appearances with symphonies of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Oregon, San Diego, Seattle, Toronto, Tucson, and Vancouver, to name a few. Amongst her overseas guesting credits are the symphonies of BBC Scottish; Brazil’s São Paulo (OSESP); Denmark’s National, Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Copenhagen Philharmonic; Germany’s Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe; Mexico’s National; Norway’s Radio and Trondheim; Sweden’s Gothenburg, Malmö and Norrköping; Switzerland’s Basel; and Turkey’s Bilkent.As Music Director of Chicago Sinfonietta, Ms. Chen has made two recordings for Cedille Records: "Project W - Works by Diverse Women Composers" (March 2019, nominated for GRAMMY® Award for Producer of the Year, Jim Ginsburg) and "Delights and Dances" (June 2013). In 2018, Innova Records released River Oaks Chamber Orchestra's debut album "ROCO: Visions Take Flight” (recognized with a GRAMMY® Award for Producer of the Year, Blanton Alspaugh) featuring 5 commissioned contemporary works conducted by Ms. Chen.Past honors include being named one of the 2015 Top 30 Influencers by Musical America; the 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras; Winner, the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship founded by Marin Alsop; and 2005 First Prize Winner of the Malko Competition (she remains as the only woman in the competition history since 1965 to have won First Prize).Named the first-ever Principal Guest Conductor of Austria’s Recreation Grosses Orchester Graz and the first-ever Artistic Partner of Houston’s River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), both in September 2019, Mei-Ann Chen has served as Artistic Director & Conductor for the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival since 2016. She is also Conductor Laureate of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra after serving as Music Director 2010 – 2016. Born in Taiwan, Ms. Chen came to the United States to study violin in 1989 and became the first student in New England Conservatory’s history to receive master’s degrees simultaneously in both violin and conducting, and she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting at the University of Michigan.

Soo Han - Biographical Information

Dr. Soo Han is the newly appointed Director of Orchestral Studies at the Reva and Sid Dewberry Family School of Music at George Mason University. He is also the Music Director of the Elkhart County Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. In addition, he is a contributing editor for Hal Leonard’s Essential Elements for Strings, a D’Addario Orchestral Strings Artist, a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician, and a program coordinator/faculty member with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s summer Youth Orchestra program. Prior to his appointment at George Mason University, Dr. Han served as the Director of Orchestral Studies at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Berea, Ohio. He conducted the Baldwin Wallace (BW) Symphony Orchestra, the BW Opera Theatre, and led a successful performance tour with the BW Symphony Orchestra in addition to maintaining an active conducting studio. An active conductor, Dr. Soo Han has appeared with professional orchestras throughout the country in addition to directing university orchestras. He is a frequent conductor for All-State, Regional, and Honor Orchestras throughout the U.S., appearing in over 30 states. He has also conducted internationally with orchestras in Austria, China, Thailand, and Australia. Dr. Han has collaborated with numerous artists, groups, and conductors such as Lynn Harrell, David Kim, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He has produced multiple recordings of complete symphonies and has premiered several commissioned works for strings and full orchestras. He has presented workshops and clinics internationally and for national and state music conferences including the Australian String Teachers Conference, Maryborough National Australia Conference, Midwest Clinic, American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Conference, NAfME National Conference, and the Ohio University Summer String Teacher Workshop. Dr. Soo Han is a co-author, contributor, and managing editor for Teaching Music through Performance in Orchestra, Vol. 4, one of the leading orchestra pedagogical resources published by GIA. He is the past president of the Indiana chapter of the American String Teachers Association; the Indiana chapter was awarded the ‘Most Improved Chapter’ during his time as president. Having taught music in public schools for fifteen years, he is a passionate supporter of public school music programs and continues to remain active in instrumental classrooms throughout the country. Dr. Soo Han received his Bachelor of Instrumental Music Education degree from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and studied piano with Edward Auer. He received his Master of Science in Education from Indiana University School of Education, and his Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the Michigan State University – College of Music where he studied with Kevin Noe.