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Monica Chen Named Next WSO Assistant Conductor

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Monica Chen

After a careful and complex audition process, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the University of Manitoba Orchestra, has appointed Monica Chen to the position of Assistant Conductor of the WSO and music director of both the University of Manitoba Orchestra and Sistema Winnipeg.

Currently a conducting fellow with the Orchestre Métropolitain assisting Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and one of the conductors with the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Academy of Music, Chen will begin working with the WSO and preparing for the 2023/2024 season later this year.

Chen revealed her potential to the WSO at the 2021 RBC Canadian Conductors Showcase. Her journey confirms that the mentoring opportunities and guidance offered by the showcase are significant stepping stones to professional engagement for young conductors.

“We believe Monica’s genuine musicality, her respect for the score, orchestra musicians and administration, as well as her general sense of humility, which are essential for her to succeed in growing both artistically and professionally,” says WSO Music Director Daniel Raiskin.

About the opportunity to work with the WSO, Chen says, “I am incredibly honoured to join the outstanding team of staff and musicians at the WSO as the Assistant Conductor this coming September. Continuing my journey with none other than one of the leading professional orchestras in Canada is an unimaginable opportunity for me right now, while also being able to dedicate my time to music education with the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestra and Sistema Winnipeg. I greatly look forward to contributing to the lively arts community of Winnipeg with the WSO, assisting Maestros Daniel Raiskin and Julian Pellicano.”

A native of Vancouver, Chen is one of the conducting fellows at the Orchestre Métropolitain, assisting Yannick Nézet-Séguin since the 2021/2022 season. She was one of three finalists at Domaine Forget chosen to perform in concert with the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec two years in a row. She is currently closely associated with Tapestry Opera, frequently working with orchestras across Canada.

Recent conducting engagements include working with Opera Kelowna, Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and the Orchestre Métropolitain. She has participated in festivals including the Eastman School of Music, Domaine Forget International Summer Academy, the UBC Chamber Music Festival, and the University of Oregon Conducting Institute, working closely with maestros Jonathan Girard, Neil Varon, Thomas Rösner, and the late Bramwell Tovey.

She holds two Masters, one in Orchestral Conducting from UBC, studying with Dr. Jonathan Girard and the other in violin performance from Indiana University, studying with Mimi Zweig.