Tong Chen

Assistant Conductor

“[Tong Chen] masterfully presented 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, has quickly established herself as one of her generation's most promising and exciting young conductors.

Highlights of the 2022-23 season include debut 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, subscription concerts with the New Jersey Symphony, and worked as cover conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, DC. In addition, Chen was a proud participant in 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; 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. In addition, Tong has worked for Gustavo Dudamel of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Ivan Fischer of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, as a cover conductor.

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.

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. In 2022, Tong teamed with composer Huang Ruo and Mannes 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. 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, which allowed her to study the music of Mendelssohn 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.