norman lebrecht

September 14, 2023

We understand that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has terminated the employment of violist Beatrice Chen, daughter of the long-serving concertmaster Robert Chen.

When Beatrice, known as Bea, was appointed, aged 19, in April last year, eyebrows were raised over her suitability. But she had been principal viola of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra for the previous five years and, with her father in the driving seat, what could go wrong?

Something, apparently.

The CSO is refusing to comment on what it says is an ‘internal personnel matter’, but we understand there was a disciplinary issue involved.

Whatever the cause, Bea’s name has been removed from the CSO website and the playing roster and there’s a vacancy for a good viola in a flagship US orchestra.



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