Trio Oriens draws together three outstanding musicians from the island nation of Taiwan. After launching a successful inaugural season in the spring of 2010, the trio quickly became one of the most active chamber music ensembles in the Houston area. Recognized for their intelligent artistry, Trio Oriens brings innovative programs and diverse repertoire to its audiences. The trio specializes in historically informed interpretations of classical period works, Taiwanese/Chinese music, Latin American and Contemporary compositions. Trio Oriens is committed to ensemble collaboration with outstanding musicians and devoted to community outreach in local schools, nursing homes and churches. Their guest artists have included Richard Nunemaker, Franca Ma, Carla Hammock, Wei-Wei Wang, Rodica Oancea-Gonzalez, and Wei Jiang. Trio Oriens is resident artists of Houston Community College Southwest Fine Arts Center, and have performed regularly at the University of St. Thomas, Houston Baptist University, Christ King Lutheran Church, and the Crain Garden Series at the Methodist Hospital as well as in a variety of non-traditional venues in Houston, gaining a wide and dedicated following through their focus on audience development and outreach. They have appeared as featured guests on Houston Public Radio's Front Row, the premier on-air arts news magazine in Houston. In addition to their regular concerts, Trio Oriens can often be found working on unique projects. Their frequent collaborations with living composers include performances of new works by Houston composers Joe LoCascio and J. Todd Frazier. Their video recording of Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time was chosen to be part of a special Holocaust exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Trio Oriens is currently working on their first recording project and planning concert tours in Asia and South America. Recently they have been invited to be on the faculty of the Interharmony International Summer Festival in Germany.
I-Ling Chen, Annual Distinguished Young Artist of Taiwan in 1999, received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland in December 2002. As former staff/faculty member of Moores School of Music, University of Houston and Howard Community College in Columbia Maryland, Dr. Chen has always dedicated herself to both performing and teaching piano.Dr. Chen was born and raised in Taiwan. She first started playing the piano when she was five years old. As the winner of the Tai-Chung City Concerto Competition, I-Ling Chen was invited numerous times to play with the Tai-Chung City Symphony Orchestra between 1988 and 1990. Through a national honors program, Dr. Chen was selected to attend the National Taipei University of the Arts, the most prestigious performing arts institution in Taiwan. She received many prizes and awards during her college years, including the First Prize Winner of the Taiwan National Piano Competition in 1992 and 1995. After receiving the Special Prize in Best Collaborative Pianist in the Kuan-Tu New Voice Competition, Dr. Chen wanted to expand her repertoire into operas and chamber music. Subsequently, she worked at the National Taipei Opera Workshop and had numerous performances at the National Theatre in Taipei.
In 1995, I-Ling attended the music festival at Johanesen International School of Music in Vancouver, Canada. During the music festival, she was the Winner of The Stars of Today and Tomorrow and was invited to play the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 for the festival's final concert. One year later, Dr. Chen received a scholarship from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts to study piano performance with Ms. Patricia Zander. I-Ling Chen had many concerts in Boston, including a recital with Lawrence Wolfe at Symphony Hall.
After completing her Master of Music degree in 1998, Dr. Chen became a staff pianist at both the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts and continued to perform frequently in the Boston area. After relocating to Maryland for her doctoral study in 1999, Dr. Chen was invited on the music faculty of Howard Community College, where she taught piano and chamber music. She also served as the conductor of the Columbia Choir in Columbia, Maryland. She moved to Houston in 2009, and is one of the founders of Trio Oriens. As the pianist of Houston Independent School District's Honor Choir, Dr. Chen is also involved with school and community activities.
Violinist Ning (Chan) Gelok (b. 1983) enjoys an active performance career spanning two continents and numerous musical settings. Born and raised in Singapore, she first began violin with her father, renowned violin pedagogue Chan Yong Shing. Early professional experiences include a solo private performance for former Singaporean President Ong Teng Cheong at the President’s home, a performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto at the President’s charity concert with the Singapore Youth Orchestra, representing Singapore in the World Youth Orchestra, attaining the concertmaster position of the SYO, and serving in that capacity and as a soloist during their concert tour in Scotland.
Ning moved to the United States in 2000 in order to complete a degree in violin performance at Rice University, where she studied violin with Sergiu Luca and chamber music with James Dunham, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Brian Connelly. Post-degree, she also studied violin with New York Philharmonic Orchestra concertmaster Frank Huang.
As a chamber musician, she has been an invited guest performer at multiple universities in the United States, including Gordon College, The University of Houston’s AURA Contemporary Ensemble, and Houston Community College’s new music series. Her interest in new music has led to close collaboration with internationally recognized composers such as Joel Love, Zechariah Goh, Joe LoCascio, and Tan Chan Boon, and performances at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and events such as the Singapore Saxophone Symposium.
In addition to her career in the United States, Ms. Gelok continues to play an active role in the Singaporean music scene, with regular performances with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, the Singapore Lyric Opera, and New Opera Singapore. Her chamber music projects include a solo violin recital at Esplanade Recital Hall and ‘A Tale of Two Families’, a two-day concert project involving collaboration with other respected musicians, which she also conceived and programmed.
Ning is currently the violinist for Trio Oriens, a Houston-based group that actively promotes Asian composers and mentors young chamber musicians.
A native of Taiwan, cellist Olive Chen has been active in Houston music scene for many years. Mrs. Chen has performed as soloist or principal cellist in the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Woodlands Symphony, Opera on The Heights and other orchestras. Before coming to the United States, Mrs. Chen was a member of the Taipei City Symphony Orchestra. Olive Chen has performed professionally in Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Korea, The Philippines, Hong Kong and in many major cities in the United States.
Born into a musical family, she started her music training at the age of three. During her early training and development as a cellist, she competed in and won a number of national youth competitions in Taiwan. Subsequently, she was admitted to Soo-Chow University in Taipei, Taiwan as one of a number of specially selected young musicians with extraordinary talent. She received her master’s degree from Rice University, Shepherd Music School in 1993 studying under the tutelage of principal cello teachers Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of Houston Symphony and David Finckel, cellist of the Emerson String Quartet, highlighted at the Aspen Music Festival.
Olive Chen is recognized as an outstanding cello teacher in the greater Houston area where she operates her own music studio. She has also taught cello at Houston Community College, Houston Youth Symphony, Fort Bend Independent School District and Conroe Independent School District. A number of her students have excelled and performed admirably in various contests and performances in Texas.
Mrs. Chen currently resides in Missouri City, Texas with her husband Mark, a professional photographer and their daughter, Marcia, also a talented cellist.