Noreen Cassidy-Polera, piano
Sonata for Violin in G Major, Devil's Trill
Suite italienne for Violin and Piano
Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Ballade
Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major
Robert Chen has been concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1999. During his years as concertmaster, he has been featured as soloist with Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez, among others. He gave the CSO premiere of György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, Elliott Carter’s Violin Concerto and Witold Lutoslawski’s Chain Two, as well as the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s Astral Canticle.
In addition to his duties as concertmaster, Chen enjoys a solo career that includes performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic and more. An avid chamber musician, Chen has performed with artists such as Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Yo-Yo Ma. A frequent participant at numerous festivals, he also has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro and is a founding member of the Johannes Quartet.
Prior to joining the CSO, Chen won first prize in the Hanover International Violin Competition. As part of that prize, he recorded Tchaikovsky’s complete violin works for the Berlin Klassics label.
A native of Taiwan, Chen began his violin studies at the age of seven. He continued his studies with Robert Lipsett and participated in Jascha Heifetz’s master classes when he and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1979. Chen received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in music from the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki.
In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at home with his wife Laura and two children, Beatrice and Noah.
Pianist Noreen Cassidy-Polera ranks among the most highly regarded and diverse chamber artists performing today. She maintains a career that has taken her to every major American music center and abroad to Europe, Russia, and Asia. Recent performances include those at Alice Tully Hall, Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y, Jordan Hall, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Kennedy Center, and Salle Cortot. She has appeared at the Caramoor, Bard, Grand Teton, and Cape Cod music festivals, and has performed with the chamber music societies of Philadelphia and La Jolla. She has recorded for Sony, EMI, Audiophon, and Centaur Records.
Ms. Cassidy-Polera has collaborated with leading soloists, including David Shifrin, Matt Haimovitz, Carter Brey, Antonio Meneses, Aurora-Natalie Ginastera, Yo-Yo Ma, and Leonard Rose. Winner of the accompanying prize at the VIII International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, she regularly collaborates with laureates of the Queen Elisabeth, Tchaikovsky, and Naumburg international competitions.
Ms. Cassidy-Polera's mastery and affection for the complete standard cello-piano repertory is well-known, as is her attention and dedication to the works of contemporary composers. In recent seasons, she performed Elliott Carter's venerable Sonata for Cello and Piano on tour in Paris, New York, and Philadelphia, along with new works by Lowell Liebermann, Benjamin C. S. Boyle, and Kenji Bunch to critical acclaim. Her CD recording Sound Vessels (with cellist Scott Kluksdahl) features the recording premiere of Richard Wernick's Duo, as well as works by Robert Helps, Augusta Read Thomas, and Elliott Carter.
Ms. Cassidy-Polera holds bachelor's and master's degrees in music from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Martin Canin.