Associate Principal/Acting Principal
Mike Chen joined the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in September 2011 and came to the ISO from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, where he performed since 2003. Originally a violinist, he served as co-concertmaster in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago during the 1994-95 season and, as a member of its violin section from 1992-1995, he had the opportunity to work with prominent conductors such as Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta.
In recent years, Chen also has performed with the Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University where he studied violin with Blair Milton, a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1998, he returned to Northwestern University and earned a master’s degree in conducting, studying with Victor Yampolsky and Mariusz Smolij. In 1999, he began studying viola, first with Li-Kuo Chang and later with ISO Principal Viola Michael Isaac Strauss. Other teachers include Keith Conant and Baird Dodge. He taught chamber music in the Chicago Youth Symphony, Chicago Academy for the Arts and the Western Springs School of Talent Education and was an educator for many years in the Chicago area.
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