Assistant Principal Clarinet and Eb Clarinet
Clarinetist Ben Chen made his American solo debut at the Kennedy Center, the result of winning the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute concerto competition. His performances since then have taken him across the United States, from Maine to Alaska, and internationally to China, Japan, and Canada. In 2018, Ben returned to Washington, D.C., as assistant principal and E-flat clarinet of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. He previously enjoyed an active freelance career based in the greater Cleveland area, holding simultaneous orchestral positions with the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and as principal clarinet of the Youngstown Symphony. Ben has also performed in subscription concerts with The Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, and as guest principal clarinet with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Equally dedicated to chamber music, Ben was a member of the Pierrot new music ensemble, Ars Futura, and the award-winning North Coast Winds quintet. He currently presents recitals nationwide with pianist Dean Zhang as the Edgewater Duo. Festival appearances include the Pacific Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, and the Sarasota Music Festival. As an educator, Ben served as an interim faculty member at Kent State University and has given master classes throughout the United States and China. He earned degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Franklin Cohen, and an Artist Diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory with Richard Hawkins.