Tong Chen conducts Montgomery and Mendelssohn

Tong Chen, conductor
Jennifer Frautschi, violin

Saturday March 5, 2022 at 8:00PM
Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew
263 W. 86th Street, New York, NY

Purchase Tickets Online

  • Jessie Montgomery (2016) Records from a Vanishing City
  • Felix Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
    Jennifer Frautschi, violin
  • Francis Poulenc Sinfonietta, FP 141

About the Artists

TONG CHEN, Conductor

"Masterfully presented the Mendelssohn's Fifth Symphony," described the Leipzig Times. A prizewinner of the prestigious International Malko Conducting Competition, Tong Chen, current assistant conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, has quickly established herself as one of her generation's most promising and exciting young conductors.

Highlights of the 2021-22 season include subscription week with the New Jersey Symphony orchestra, debut with St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, and engagement with National Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Chen is a proud participant of the 2020 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, postponed to March 2022.

Tong Chen has worked with numerous orchestras across the globe, including the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo; Mikkelin Kaupunginorkesteri; Besançon Symphony Orchestra; Leipzig Symphony Orchestra; Alabama Symphony Orchestra; Charleston Symphony Orchestra; and the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, she made her Lincoln Center debut at David H. Koch Theater with the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Orchestra of St. Luke's.

Born in Shanghai, China, Ms. Chen is a regular guest conductor with orchestras throughout China. Including the Shanghai Philharmonic, Xia Men Philharmonic, Qing Dao Symphony Orchestra, Guang Zhou Symphony Orchestra, and the Shanghai Opera House, where she worked as the assistant conductor from 2004-2009.

The founder of the new music project, "NOW!", Tong has commissioned and performed new compositions throughout different cultural backgrounds and genres. Recently world premieres include Allen Shawn's Concerto for Clarinet and Cello, one of the last pieces commissioned by Benny Goodman; Ellis Marsalis' "The Fourth Autumn," arranged by Hannah Yim; "Thu Diếu" by Viet Cuong and many works by Jessie Montgomery. This season, Tong teamed with composer Huang Ruo and Manner Opera to work on a new production of Huang's Dr. Sun-Yat Sen.

An education advocate, Chen taught orchestral conducting and led the Copland School of Music orchestral program from 2012-2018. Summer 2019 marked her second year as the director of the Queens College Conductor's workshop, founded by Maurice Peress in 2010. Additionally, she is a regular guest conductor at the Manhattan School of Music, Montclair State University, the Mannes Pre-College Orchestra, numerous All-State Youth Orchestras in New York State, and a guest lecturer at Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Tong Chen's primary studies were with Gustav Meier at the Peabody Conservatory, where she received her Master's Degree in conducting; with Maurice Peress at the Copland School of Music at Queens College in New York City; and at the Shanghai Conservatory. In addition, she attended the Aspen Music Festival, where she worked with David Zinman, and the Cabrillo Festival, where she studied with Marin Alsop. Ms. Chen was also a protégé of the former Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Kurt Masur, and was awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 2012, which allowed her to study the music of Mendelssohn and serve as the assistant conductor for Maestro Masur at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.

Currently, Tong Chen lives in Jersey City with her family and their dog, Kimi.


Two-time GRAMMY nominee and Avery Fisher career grant recipient violinist Jennifer Frautschi has appeared as soloist with innumerable orchestras including the Cincinnati Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and St Paul Chamber Orchestra. As chamber musician she has performed with the Boston Chamber Music Society and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and appeared at Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Summerfest, Music@Menlo, Tippet Rise Art Center, Toronto Summer Music, and the Bridgehampton, Charlottesville, Lake Champlain, Moab, Ojai, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Spoleto Music Festivals.

Her extensive discography includes several discs for Naxos: the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, conducted by the legendary Robert Craft, and two GRAMMY-nominated recordings with the Fred Sherry Quartet, of Schoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra , and the Schoenberg Third String Quartet. Her most recent releases are with pianist John Blacklow on Albany Records: the first devoted to the three sonatas of Robert Schumann; the second, American Duos, an exploration of recent additions to the violin and piano repertoire by contemporary American composers Barbara White, Steven Mackey, Elena Ruehr, Dan Coleman, and Stephen Hartke. She also recorded three widely praised CDs for Artek: an orchestral recording of the Prokofiev concerti with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony; the violin music of Ravel and Stravinsky; and 20th-century works for solo violin. Other recordings include a disc of Romantic Horn Trios, with hornist Eric Ruske and pianist Stephen Prutsman, and the Stravinsky Duo Concertant with pianist Jeremy Denk.

Born in Pasadena, California, Ms. Frautschi attended the Colburn School, Harvard, the New England Conservatory, and the Juilliard School. She performs on a 1722 Antonio Stradivarius violin known as the "ex-Cadiz," on generous loan from a private American foundation with support from Rare Violins In Consortium. She currently teaches in the graduate program at Stony Brook University.