Applause

“There’s nothing quite like hearing and feeling the power and pulse of a live performance of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, led by guest conductor Karina Canellakis, closed Friday’s concert with a thrilling, tight, clean performance of Stravinsky’s work, which was full of expressive playing, such as principal bassoonist Catherine Chen’s soaring, opening bassoon lines.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


“Tallying individual talent is great sport – a bassoonist who took the opening to “The Rite of Spring” as if she’d been born and raised on a high wire – and yet there was something more significant at work….Catherine Chen’s opening bassoon solo in “The Rite of Spring”, assured and startlingly lyrical, signaled an orchestra-wide philosophy. Every detail was worked out.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer


“One rarely hears the Mozart bassoon concerto and, for that matter, rarely hears bassoonists performing concertos. Chen’s performance was a lovely reminder of the lyrical and technical possibilities of the instrument. She played with a polished, warm sound, full of color and nuance. Although the acoustic blurred much of the piece’s fast passagework into the sound of the orchestra, the cadenzas, which she had written, revealed some technically pristine, wonderfully musical playing.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


“Even with many players added, the woodwinds showed just how good they are with expressive and colorful playing that remained balanced. Catherine Chen’s haunting sound in the high register of the instrument graced the most famous bassoon solo in the repertory.”

Shepherd Express


“It was a wonderful opportunity to hear the new first bassoonist of the MSO, Catherine Chen, who played with an elegant, buttery tone.”

Shepherd Express


“It was pure delight to hear the woodwinds passing around a delicious little phrase in the second movement. Both oboist Katherine Steele Young and bassoonist Catherine Chen approached the solos in that movement with the vocal phrasing of a great singer.”

Shepherd Express


“From Taiwan to Toronto, Chen has had a multi-stop journey to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which she joined this fall as associate principal bassoon. She moved from Taipei to the United States when she was 6 and began bassoon studies at 14. She then studied at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music before working with the Philadelphia Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Her last position was principal bassoonist with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, she represented the Curtis Institute on a tour of the U.S. and Costa Rica. She spends her summers playing in festivals.”

Named one of Toronto’s “Entertainment Rookies of the Year” by the Toronto Star

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