New Zealand pianist John Chen was the youngest ever winner of the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition, where he also won prizes for the best performance of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, chamber music and concerto. Since then, he has performed across Europe, Asia, North America, and extensively in Australia and New Zealand, including performances at significant festivals such as Klavierfestival Ruhr Germany 2005 and Singapore International Piano Festival 2006. He has performed concertos with all the major orchestras in Australia and New Zealand as well as among others, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He has recorded CDs for Naxos (complete solo piano works of Henri Dutilleux) and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Debussy and Ravel).
John began piano studies in Auckland at the age of three. At age 18, he received his Master of Music from the University of Auckland under Rae de Lisle. In 2008, he was honoured as the University of Auckland's Young Alumnus of the Year. Mr Chen completed an Artist Diploma at Colburn Conservatory in 2009 and is now working towards a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Southern California under John Perry.
Mr Chen is the pianist in the Saguaro Piano Trio, which took first prize at the Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition in 2009, where they also won the prize for the best performance of a work by Brahms. The Saguaro Piano Trio has performed in the USA, Canada, Germany and Japan, including prestigious venues such as Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall. In February 2010 they gave the world premiere of American composer Philip Maneval's second Piano Trio. They have been broadcast on national radio in Germany, and their forthcoming CD will contain works by Haydn, Babadjanian and Ravel.
John Chen is deeply committed to New Zealand music, giving the world premieres of works by New Zealand composers Jenny McLeod, Ross Harris, Gao Ping, Robin Toan, Claire Cowan and Tony Lin (the latter two, works he commissioned himself). He has also given the world premiere of the second piano concerto of Australian composer Roger Smalley.