1335 S Michigan Ave
Robert Chen has been concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1999. During his years as the CSO concertmaster, he has been featured as soloist with Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Ton Koopman, Osmo Vänskä, Vasily Petrenko, Nicholas Kraemer and James Conlon. He gave the CSO premiere of György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, Elliott Carter’s Violin Concerto, and Witold Lutoslawski’s Chain Two, as well as the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Astral Canticle.
In addition to his duties as concertmaster, Chen enjoys a solo career that include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra of Hanover, Asia Philharmonic and the Bournemouth Symphony, collaborating with conductors such as Myung-Whun Chung, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Manfred Honeck, Pavel Kogan and Andreas Delfs.
An avid chamber musician, Chen has performed with Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Christoph Eschenbach, Myung-Whun Chung, Emanuel Ax, Mitsuko Uchida, Lynn Harrell, and János Starker. A frequent participant at numerous festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, and the Schloss Moritzburg Festival, he also has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro and is a founding member of the Johannes Quartet.
Prior to joining the CSO, Robert Chen won first prize in the Hanover International Violin Competition. As part of that prize, he recorded Tchaikovsky’s complete violin works for the Berlin Klassics label.
A native of Taiwan, Robert Chen began his violin studies at the age of seven. He continued his studies with Robert Lipsett when he and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1979. While in Los Angeles, he participated in Jascha Heifetz’s master classes. Chen received both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki.
In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at home with his wife Laura and two children, Beatrice and Noah.
Pianist Matthew Hagle’s performances are often noted for their musical understanding, imaginative programming, and beauty of sound. The New York Times has described him as “a sensitive pianist”, Clavier Magazine has praised the “rare clarity and sweetness” of his playing, and the Springfield (MA.) Republican remarked that he “played with unaffected brilliance and profound understanding”. The adventurousness of his programming received favorable commentary on Australian national radio, covering his performances in the Sydney International Piano Competition. His recital appearances often explore the 20th and 21st century repertoire as well as lesser-known older works, finding ways to integrate these hidden treasures into the standard repertoire through thoughtful programming and committed performance. He has recently finished performing the 32 Beethoven Sonatas in a series of live recitals on radio station WFMT in Chicago.
A resident of the Chicago area, Hagle has performed at local venues including the Ravinia Festival, Symphony Center, and the Chicago Cultural Center; he has also been heard in concert halls throughout the United States, including the National Gallery of Art, Symphony Space in New York, and at the United States Supreme Court, as well as in concert halls in England, Canada, Brazil, Australia and Japan. Mr. Hagle performs frequently on radio station WFMT in Chicago, and has also been heard on NPR’s “Performance Today” and Minnesota Public Radio’s “St. Paul Sunday Morning”. He is valued as a collaborator by many artists: for many years, he has been the principal recital partner of violinist Rachel Barton Pine. He also frequently performs as a piano duo with his wife Mio Isoda-Hagle. Other chamber music performances have been with the Parker Quartet, the Avalon Quartet, Quintet Attacca, and with members of the Chicago Symphony.
Mr. Hagle is a dedicated teacher of piano, music theory, and composition, whose students have won high honors in local and national competitions. He is currently on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago, where he is director of the Musicianship program in addition to his teaching duties. He has also taught at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, at Elmhurst College, and at the International Institute for Young Musicians at the Universities of Kansas and California at Santa Barbara. A comfortable speaker on diverse musical subjects, he likes to use this ability to draw connections between very new and older music, or between music and other art forms. In his spare time he likes to read on a variety of subjects, and to spend time with his two children.
Matthew Hagle is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory (B.M.) and of Yale University (M.M., M.M.A., D.M.A), receiving faculty prizes in piano, accompanying, and music theory. While at Yale, he also received a Fulbright Scholarship to study piano privately in London. His teachers have been Claude Frank, Robert Weirich, Donald Currier and Maria Curcio Diamand