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  • Chelsea Chen to Make Los Angeles Debut on the Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ Recital Series
  • Nov. 24, 2008
  • 24-Year-old Virtuoso Performs Works by Dupré, Vierne, Chen, Gjeilo, Hindemith, Bach and Reger

    SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2008, AT 7:30PM

    Chelsea Chen, the brilliant 24-year-old organ virtuoso, makes her Los Angeles debut on the Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ Series Sunday, November 23, at 7:30 p.m. The program is a rich mix of works from four centuries, including Marcel Dupré – “Le Monde dans l’attente du Sauveur” from Symphonie-Passion, Louis Vierne – “Naiades” from Pièces de fantaisie, Ola Gjeilo – Sinfonietta, Paul Hindemith – Sonata No. 1, J.S. Bach – An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV 653, Max Reger – Chorale-fantasy on “Hallelujah! Gott zu loben, bleibe meine Seelenfreud!" and a piece written by Chen: “Taiwan Tableaux.”

    “Her youthful energy and enthusiasm were contagious. Her memorized performance was fresh and inspiring,” writes Madolyn Fallis, in The American Organist. Critics praise Chen’s talent for breathing new life into the art of the organ, and she has been the recipient of many awards, including the Robert Baker and Charles Ives prizes at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and the John Erskine Prize for scholastic and artistic distinction at the Juilliard School.

    "I've always admired Disney Hall's scintillating architecture and organ design. There really is not a more ‘hip’ place to hear and play the organ! Originally, I thought of the organ only as a church instrument, and while I am passionate about that magnificent repertory, I am also dedicated to secular works that show off the organ's wide range of expression. I hope that the audience will enjoy both the traditional and the contemporary works on the program, such as my own ‘Taiwan Tableaux’ and Ola Gjeilo’s Sinfonietta,” says Chen of her upcoming debut.

    With performances described as electrifying and brilliant, CHELSEA CHEN elicits high praise for her exceptional command of the organ. She has already performed to great acclaim throughout the U.S., Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. A Juilliard graduate and Fulbright scholar, she is broadening the classical organ repertoire with her own Asian-inspired compositions. Ms. Chen recorded her debut CD and DVD, Live at Heinz Chapel, on the Heinz Chapel organ in Pittsburgh, PA at the 2005 Convention of the American Institute of Organ builders. Her playing has been broadcast on Pipedreams from American Public Media, Hawaii Public Radio, and Taiwan's Good News Radio. In 2006, Ms. Chen was featured at both the American Guild of Organists Region IX Conclave in Las Vegas and the AGO National Convention in Chicago. In addition, she has appeared as soloist with the Juilliard Percussion Orchestra in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and with the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra in Colorado. She premiered her own ‘Taiwanese Suite’ (2003) and ‘Taiwan Tableaux’ (2007) at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and has premiered several works by Juilliard composers Teddy Niedermaier and Ola Gjeilo, all with great success. In collaboration with harpist Arielle, their organ and harp ensemble, Duo Mango, has championed new works by Paul Desenne, Yui Kitamura, and Roderick Gorby. Ms. Chen has been the recipient of many awards including The Baker Prize for a top incoming organ student at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, The Charles Ives Prize for an outstanding organ major at the Yale School of Music, and The John Erskine Prize for scholastic and artistic distinction at the Juilliard School. In addition, she has taken first prizes in competitions including the 2005 Augustana/Reuter National Undergraduate Organ Competition, the 2003 Region IX AGO RCYO Competition, and the 2005 Musical Merit Foundation Competition. In 2006, she was an Aspen Music Festival full-scholarship recipient for piano. Originally from San Diego, California, Ms. Chen studied piano from a young age with Jane Bastien and Lori Bastien Vickers. At fifteen, she began organ lessons with Leslie Robb, and later with Monte Maxwell. She then went on to study with John Weaver and Paul Jacobs at Juilliard, receiving her Bachelor's and Master's degrees. From 2003-06, she was organist at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and was a leader of the Juilliard Christian Fellowship. In 2006-2007, she composed, lectured, and performed in Taiwan as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. Currently, she is in the Artist Diploma program at Yale University studying with Thomas Murray.

    The WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL ORGAN was inaugurated at the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in fall of 2004. Designed by Frank Gehry and Manuel Rosales of Rosales Organ Builders, the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ contains pipes ranging in size from a pencil to a telephone pole, and is voiced with a wide dynamic range from pianississimo to a breathtaking fortissimo. The specially curved wood façade pipes were made by Glatter-Götz Orgelbau of solid, vertical grain Douglas fir and consist of the Violone and Bassoon basses. Behind the facade are three levels of pipes, including metal pipes made of tin and lead alloys and wood pipes made of Norwegian pine.

    The LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC ASSOCIATION, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music - Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association's involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2008, at 7:30 PM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    CHELSEA CHEN, organ

    Tickets ($24 - $49) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Leah Price, 213.972.3406,; Photos, 213.972.3034
    Publicist: Nancy Shear Arts Services,, 212.496.9418