In October, Rochester Symphony welcomed Chia-Hsuan Lin to the stage as one of four conductor candidates pursuing the position of our new Music Director.
Hailed by the Virginia Gazette as “a rock solid” and “animated” conductor, Chia-Hsuan Lin (pronounced “jah-shwen”) delights audiences throughout the world with her trademark energy and command. The Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony, Lin also debuts in 2023 with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and returns to conduct concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Williamsburg Symphony, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic this year.
Living in both Richmond, Virginia and her new home in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Lin anticipates her Rochester Symphony debut with excitement as she aims to expand her presence in Minnesota. With broad experience in artistic leadership roles, and years of relationship building, programming, and guest conducting, she looks forward to how she might serve the Rochester community through the transformational power of symphonic music.
Appointed Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony in 2016, Lin has established herself as a stalwart champion of the orchestra through her masterful concerts for all audiences. Clark Bustard wrote of Lin’s Brahms Fourth Symphony, “I’ve never heard a more compelling live performance than this one.” In another performance, Lin “crafted a Tchaikovsky Fourth that dancers could have danced to,” and “fine details, tone-painting of moody atmospherics, rhythmic fluidity and abundant lyricism came through almost flawlessly.” (Letter V)
Other Richmond highlights include Handel’s Messiah, Classics Series, Symphony Pops, family concerts, a side-by-side orchestra of 624 musicians and community members in “Come and Play”, a record crowd exceeding 19,000 for Richmond’s Independence Day Celebration, and a single-day ticket sales record for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert. Formerly the Assistant Conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Lin punctuated the end of her tenure in 2016 “with the command and energy of a soccer star” before a record FWP subscription crowd. (larryhayes.com) Her interactive programs invoke her love of collaboration with audiences, with singing, body-percussion, bell jingling, and call-and-response (even in Mandarin) with students, all adding to the joy of experiencing live music together.
As a cover conductor, Lin has worked with the Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, and others, with conductors such as Osmo Vänskä, Jahja Ling, Marin Alsop, Gianandrea Noseda, Stéphane Denève, and many more. Other past guest conducting appearances include conducting the Virginia Symphony, Richmond Ballet, Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, Academy of Taiwan Strings and Taipei Philharmonic Chorus.
In 2019, Lin was praised as a last-minute replacement in Williamsburg’s performance of Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6. Assuming the podium the day of the concert, the Virginia Gazette reported Lin as “leading them through a thoroughly top-drawer performance” in “an exceptionally absorbing interpretation and rendering.”
An advocate for the next generation of musical talent, Lin has collaborated with award-winning artists Paul Huang, Sterling Elliot, Amaryn Olmeda, Kevin Zhu, Inna Faliks, and Eduardo Rojas. Showcasing new music that often transcends traditional classical boundaries, her list of premieres continues to grow with new works by Chris Thile, PaviElle French, Stephen Prutsman, Zachary Wadsworth, Laura Schwendinger, Steve Heitzeg, and Jennifer Jolley.
Lin previously served as Music Director of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, University of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Interim Music Director of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland, and Assistant Conductor of Opera at the CCM Spoleto Music Festival in Italy.
Beginning piano lessons in Taiwan at the age of three, Lin majored in percussion at the National Taiwan Normal University while playing with the Taipei Percussion Group, only to have a life-altering incident when she was struck by a car. After this she pursued conducting with Apo Hsu and Mark Gibson, and received her Doctorate of Orchestral Conducting at Northwestern University in Chicago with Victor Yampolsky.
Lin is married to horn player James Ferree in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. She enjoys traveling and cooking, and is seeking any tips and tricks for gardening in Minnesota.