The Cliburn

2015 Junior Competition Artistic Collaborators

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performed with each of three Junior Competition finalists under the baton of dynamic conductor Mei-Ann Chen.

Mei-Ann Chen  -- Manhattan School of MusicMEI-ANN CHEN, conductor

“I am very honored to take part in the inaugural edition of the Cliburn International Junior Competition and Festival in June 2015, and to conduct the Final Round. The Cliburn has created a wonderful new competition, which continues to perpetuate the legendary late Van Cliburn’s legacy and the borderless appeal of classical music. I look forward to working with incredible young artists who have tremendous potential for major careers in the near future,” said Mei-Ann Chen.

An innovative and passionate force both on and off the conductor’s podium, Mei-Ann Chen is one of America’s most dynamic young conductors. Music Director of the Memphis Symphony since 2010 and of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 2011, she has infused both orchestras with energy, enthusiasm, and high-level music-making, galvanizing their audiences and communities alike. In recognition of these accomplishments, the League of American Orchestras granted her the prestigious Helen M. Thompson Award at its 2012 national conference in Dallas.

A sought-after guest conductor, Ms. Chen’s reputation as a compelling communicator has resulted in growing popularity with orchestras both nationally and internationally. Among her North American credits are engagements with the Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras. Overseas, she has been engaged to guest-conduct the BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Austria’s Gross OrchesterGraz, Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony, Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic, the Netherlands Philharmonic in the Concertgebouw, and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, and the Trondheim Symphony. U.S. summer music festival credits include the Aspen, Britt, Grand Teton, Wintergreen, the Chautauqua Institute, and the Texas Music Festivals.

Ms. Chen’s skill on the podium and as a music educator has been recognized with several honors and awards. In 2005, she became the first woman to win Copenhagen’s esteemed Malko Competition. In 2002, she was unanimously selected as music director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon, the oldest of its kind and a model for many youth orchestras in the United States. During her five-year tenure with the orchestra, she led its sold-out debut in Carnegie Hall, received an ASCAP award for innovative programming, and developed new and unique musicianship programs for the orchestra’s members. She was also the recipient of a Sunburst Award from Young Audiences for her contribution to music education.


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Since its beginnings in 1912, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra has been an essential thread in the city’s cultural fabric and the very foundation of Fort Worth’s performing arts. Today, the FWSO is one of the most successful orchestras in the United States, performing an impressive 200 concerts each year for an audience of 250,000 adults and children from all walks of life. Nearing his 15th season, Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya has transformed the FWSO into an ensemble that is recognized and admired the world over for its artistic excellence and commitment to community engagement.

As the principal resident company of the acoustically superb Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, the orchestra performs a broad range of symphonic and pops concerts and is admired nationally for the strength and uniqueness of its collaborations with other organizations including the Fort Worth Opera, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the Children’s Education Program of Bass Performance Hall, and various local professional choruses. The orchestra’s annual summer music festival, Concerts in the Garden,has grown to be one of the largest and most successful summer outdoor festivals of its kind in Texas, attracting an annual audience of nearly 45,000.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is also a national leader in music education. Adventures in Music, the orchestra’s education and outreach program, inspires, educates and entertains more than 65,000 children through more than 100 engaging programs each year in Fort Worth and across the state of Texas.

Our Mission

It is the mission of the Cliburn to advance classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of young artists.



The Cliburn is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors, elected for a four year term. It is sustained by the generous support from individuals, foundations, corporations, the tireless efforts of volunteers, and embraced by the community of Fort Worth. The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is a proud member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.


201 Main Street, Suite 100
Fort Worth, TX 76102


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