Catherine Chen

Principal, Muriel C. and John D. Silbar Family Bassoon Chair

Catherine Chen

Hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "assured and startlingly lyrical", Catherine Chen joined the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as Principal Bassoon in 2017.  Born in Taipei, Taiwan, she moved with her family to the United States at age six and began studying the bassoon at age fourteen. She started her musical education under the tutelage of Joyce Kelley, and went on to be a student in the Pre-College division of The Juilliard School, where she studied with Marc Goldberg. Catherine later received her Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Daniel Matsukawa. Prior to her appointment with the MSO, she was the associate principal bassoonist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, principal bassoonist with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra.

As a soloist, Catherine has appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Orchestra, and "The President's Own" United States Marine Band. She was winner of the 2012 Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Concerto Competition and a prizewinner at the 2014 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition. 

During her summers, Catherine has served on faculty at Curtis Summerfest teaching the Young Artist Summer Program. She has also participated at Marlboro Music School and Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Music from Angel Fire Festival by invitation of violinist Ida Kavafian, Music Academy of the West, Castleton Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Britt Music & Arts Festival Orchestra and Lakes Area Music Festival to name a few. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys nature hikes, yoga, traveling, and cooking authentic Chinese food.