Aug 30, 2023

Classical Favorites: Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and More!

2023–24 Season Preview Concert

Concert Information

Artist Bio: Tong Chen, conductor

​A prizewinner of the prestigious International Malko Conducting Competition, Tong Chen has become one of her generation’s most promising and exciting young conductors.

Highlights of the 2022​–23 season include debuts with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. In the 2021​–22 season, Tong made her conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic. 

In addition, she was a proud participant in the 2022 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. Tong Chen served as the assistant conductor of the New Jersey Symphony from 2021​–23, working closely with Music Director Xian Zhang, and shared podiums with Xian on many occasions, including Tong’s subscription concerts debut, the world premiere of Fantasia on Sae Taryeong at the 2023 Lunar New Year Celebration. She brought many education concerts to young people throughout New Jersey State during her tenure.

Tong 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; Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, and Richmond Symphony. 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. Tong has worked with Gustavo Dudamel of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ivan Fischer of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and a regular cover conductor of Gianandrea Noseda with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, DC.

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 started her career as the assistant conductor for five seasons at the age of 19.

Founder of the new music project, “NOW!” Tong has commissioned and performed new compositions throughout different cultural backgrounds and genres. Recent 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 “Queenie Pie Suite” by Duke Ellington and the US premiere of Grammy winner Samuel Torres's Regreso.

An education advocate, Chen taught orchestral conducting and led the Copland School of Music orchestral program from 2012​–2018. She is a regular guest conductor at the Manhattan School of Music and a guest lecturer at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

A protégé of the former Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Kurt Masur, Ms. Chen was awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 2012, allowing her to study Mendelssohn's music and serve as the assistant conductor for Maestro Masur at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. Tong’s primary studies were with Gustav Meier at the Peabody Conservatory, where she received her Master of Arts in conducting. In addition, she attended the Aspen Music Festival, where she worked with David Zinman, and the Cabrillo Festival, where she studied with Marin Alsop.

Artist Bio: Terrance McKnight, host

Terrance McKnight serves humanity and music by “bringing everyone’s culture to the table, by not putting one above the other, but rather by ensuring a big enough table with a place for all.”

Terrance is the author of the upcoming book “Concert Black,” anticipating a 2023 release by Abrams Press. Also in the 2022–23 season, he hosts diverse offerings in music from the Han and Heung Festival exploring the stories and traditions of Korea at Louisiana State University, to the New York premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s chamber opera “Hometown to the World” at historic Town Hall, to facilitating a conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement and the creation of the first community-based mural in the Brooklyn neighborhood during the summer of 2020 in Bedford-Stuyvesant. His latest creative project, Langston & Beethoven: Black & Proud, is a February 2023 presentation at Lincoln Center’s Sidewalk Studio, and he lends his voice as narrator in Peter & the Wolf for two performances with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony at New York’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music.

McKnight is the weekday evening host for WQXR, New York’s only all-classical music station. In early 2023 in association with the station, his production company, Concert Black LLC, launched a podcast series. The first topic, representations of blackness in opera, is captured in 16 weekly episodes and distilled into 4-one hour radio documentaries. Prior audio documentaries he has authored, voiced and produced for the station feature Langston Hughes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Hazel Scott, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Florence Beatrice Price, Leonard Bernstein and Harry Belafonte. Another of his radio shows for WQXR, All Ears with Terrance McKnight, a series about musical discovery, was honored with an ASCAP Deems Taylor Radio Broadcast Award.

Terrance has hosted concerts for Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts, the American Pianists Association Competition, gave the keynote address for the diversity track of the 2022 Music Teachers National Association conference and participated in journalism symposium for the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, also in 2022. His is the voice of recent media campaigns for Carnegie Hall and the Studio Museum in Harlem. In association with the exhibition Charles White: A Retrospective at Museum of Modern Arts, Terrance curated a series of concerts and audio tours in 2019.

McKnight is a member of the Artistic Council, with Claire Chase and conductor Robert Spano, for The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida, serves on the board of MacDowell and is the Artistic Advisor for the Harlem Chamber Players. He has participated on panels for Chamber Music America, the Mellon Foundation, American Opera Projects, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, ASCAP and the New York State Council on the Arts. It is Terrance McKnight’s commentary that introduces the liner notes for the recent recording of Three Ife Songs by Phillip Glass, featuring singer Angelique Kidjo, Dennis Russell Davies and the Bruckner Orchestra Linz.


Programs and artists are subject to change.