Taiwanese violist Chen, Szu Hua (Mia) is currently the assistant principal of Symphoria since 2022 and acting viola principal from September 2022 to November 2022. She has performed solo, chamber, and orchestra concerts in many cities across Asia and North America, including Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, China, and the United States and plays on a viola made by Carl Becker in 1953 on loan from the Chimei Museum. In addition to performing, she also coaches at the Symphoria Youth Orchestra and maintains her teaching studio in New York City.
Ms. Chen received her Master’s Degree from Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Prof. Masumi Per Rostad with the Frank S. Cunkle Scholarship and John and Doris Barg Endowed Scholarship. She was under the tutelage of Prof. Karen Dreyfus and Prof. Shmuel Katz when she was studying at the Manhattan School of Music Orchestral Program with full scholarship after her Master’s Degree.
Ms. Chen was under the guidance of Prof. Ho Chen-Hung, Prof. Grace Huang, and Prof. Yi Wen Chao when she studied in Taiwan. She won the 1st prize in Taipei Student Music Competition and Taiwan National Student Music Competition for both chamber and solo music between 2009 and 2015. While she was at the International Youth Orchestra Camp held by National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, she played during a masterclass with Brian Chen Che-Yen and had his written comment “ You are ‘really’ talented, and it was my pleasure to get to know you and your playing. Please keep up the good work and I look forward to hearing from you again in the future!”. Over the years of her studies, Ms. Chen has worked on solo, chamber, and orchestral music with a large number of regional and international artists including Shlomon Mintz, Sergei Dogadin, Masaaku Suzuki, Qian Zhou, Jason Lai, Igudesman & Joo, Clara-Jumi Kang, Jason Lai, Cho-Laing Lin and has had lessons from the world’s most notable artists, including Shao-Wu Wang, Prof. Silverthorne, Jensen Lam, Chen Che-Yen, Shen Xi-di, Matthew Daline, Huang Hung-Wei, Nobuko Imai, Kazuhide Isomura, Maxim Rysanov, Su-Zhen, Huang Hsin-Yun, Con Wu, Takacs Quartet, London Haydn Quartet, Juilliard Quartet, Ying Quartet, American Quartet, and etc.
Ms. Chen was appointed viola principal and viola assistant principal for multiple orchestral projects and had the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists such as Masaaki Suzuki, Igudesman & Joo and Shlomo Mintz. In 2016, she was also selected to perform and record Klaus Simon’s chamber arrangement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 featuring soprano Felicitas Fuchs. In 2018, she represented YST in an institutional collaboration with Shanghai Orchestra Academy and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra at Shanghai Symphony Hall in China. The following year, she was appointed viola principal in the Conservatory Orchestra’s tour to South Korea and performed at Esplanade Hall and the Korea National University of Arts in Seoul. While she was in Taiwan, she was a substitute for the National Symphony Orchestra and performed the NSO Master Series “American Classics'' with Cho-Liang Lin. During her 2 years at the Eastman school of music, she was in the principal pool for the philharmonic concerts, principal for Beal Institution recordings and concerts with film music, and premiered several compositions with Graduate Composer’s Sinfonietta. Before the pandemic, she was the principal viola for New York State Ballet Christmas concerts - the Nutcracker in 2019. Ms. Chen was a contractor with Symphoria in Syracuse, NY starting in 2020 before becoming a full time member as assistant principal viola. When she was in Manhattan school, she was also the principal of the MSM orchestra and had worked with Earl Lee.
In addition to school studies, Ms. Chen has attended several music festivals and worked with world class maestros. She was assistant principal for the Taipei Symphony Orchestra Youth Music Camp and attended the Eastern Music Festival in Lanzhou, China. In 2015, Ms. Chen was selected for Asian Youth Orchestra. She was appointed to perform in the festival orchestra, including the Pyeong Chang Music Festival & School music camp with scholarship in 2016 and 2018, performed Bernstein ‘Serenade after Plato’s Symposium’ with Clara-Jumi Kang and Viva Viola festival in 2019 with full scholarship. She was selected as a fellowship member for the Madeline Island Music program but not able to attend due to the pandemic.
Ms. Chen also has great achievements in chamber music. While she studied under full scholarship with Prof. Zhang Manchin at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (National University of Singapore) and received her Bachelor’s Degree with honors in 2019, she performed many chamber music concerts at National Gallery, Asian Culture Museum, and chamber concerts with school faculties. In 2016, she was invited to perform Haydn Sunrise Quartet and Beethoven Op.18 No.1 at Istana, Banquet Hall to the prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. Ms. Chen was frequently pointed to perform at the Faculty Recital/Visiting Artist Series held at the NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Concert Hall as the student from the Conservatory Chamber Ensemble. She played Barber’s Dover Beach and String Quartet in B minor in both chamber series: “A World Between Two Wars” and National Gallery. In 2019, she performed Akita Nishimura ‘Sakura for Eight Violas’ with viola master Nabuko Imai and Bowen ‘Fantasia for Four Violas’ with Principal of Singapore Symphony Orchestra Zhang Manchin. In 2021, Ms. Chen performed and premiered the chamber series “Discovering Gold” held by Society of New Music in Syracuse. In 2022, she was the orchestra member of New Asia Chamber Music Society and performed at the China Now Music Festival: Journey To The East, a program highlighting the aesthetic crosscurrents between East and West in the early-mid 20th century, including symphonic works in honor of the great painter Xu Beihong (1895-1953), and a rarely performed chamber opera by Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977). As a member of the Symphoria, she frequently performs in various chamber music groups with her colleagues in Upper State New York.