Violinist of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra since 2012, Yeh Shen also performs frequently with the San Francisco Symphony. Previously, he was both a tenured 1st violinist in the Houston Symphony Orchestra, a long-time substitute violinist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Concertmaster of AAC orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival, and the Acting Associate Principal 2nd Violin of the San Diego Symphony. He has performed in the most prestigious concert halls in the world under the world’s foremost conductors such as Blomstedt, Boulez, Dohnányi, Dudamel, Dutoit, Eschenbach, Mehta, MTT, Ozawa, Rattle, Salonen and many others.
Yeh Shen is also an accomplished orchestral conductor who studied conducting with Christoph Eschenbach, David Zinman and Leonard Slatkin. He conducted many chamber ensembles of the musicians of the Houston Symphony from 1997 to 2001 while still employed as a violinist in the Houston Symphony. After leaving Houston, he became the music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2003 to 2005, and he was invited to conduct many professional orchestras and ensembles, including Cleveland Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Oregon Symphony and Singapore Symphony. He received the 2000 Aspen Conductor Academy fellowship and the 2002 Geraldine C. & Emory M. Ford Award for American Conductors. In 2003 he was selected by the American Symphony League to make his professional debut with the National Symphony Orchestra in The Kennedy Center. He also shared the podium with Christoph Eschenbach leading Sinfonietta Cracovia in Poland.
On top of his passion for music performance, Yeh Shen is always interested in creating technology-based interactive music products to enhance music appreciation of classical music among the public. He has designed mobile apps and holds U.S. patents on inventions that enable music novices to interact with classical music compositions as a part of brain fitness exercises.
Yeh Shen was born in Hunan province in China. At age eight he commenced his violin study under the tutelage of his musician parents. He entered the Shanghai Conservatory at age 11, and by age 12 he had already been featured as a soloist frequently on national radio and television programs in China. Yeh Shen was chosen by the Chinese Cultural Ministry to perform for visiting legendary violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern. Yeh Shen immigrated to the United States for his college education where he received a Bachelor of Music degree and the Advanced Performer’s Certificate from the Peabody Institute of Music, Johns Hopkins University. His teachers include David Cerone, Fredell Lack, Earl Carlyss, Sylvia Rosenberg and Berl Senofsky. Yeh Shen has won prizes in violin competitions in both China and the US, and he has also performed frequently both as a soloist and a chamber musician, including on TV and radio programs.
GETTING TO KNOW YEH SHEN…
Q: What are three of your favorite tunes or pieces in your iPod or mp3 or CD collection?
A: Several years ago, a close childhood friend of mine in the Chicago Symphonyinvited me to her wedding. Daniel Barenboim was among the invited guests and he played several Chopin Nocturnes and Preludes for us on a really bad hotel piano that desperately needed some tuning. Yet, the beautiful feeling he conveyed was just remarkable and unforgettable and that was the only time I heard him playing piano in person. Since then, for some reason, his album of Chopin Nocturnes is the only piano music on my iPod and I listen to it most frequently, even though I do have a huge CD collection of piano recordings of many other legendary pianists.
Q: What are three of your favorite movies?
A: I love all kinds of movies and there are so many amazing ones. If I am forced to pick three favorites, I would have to go with Schindler's List, The Last Emperor and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Q: The San Diego Symphony Orchestra is essential to San Diego because…?
A: Every great city with international fame has great arts & culture institutions with tremendous civic pride. San Diego is one of the most beautiful international cities in the world, and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra is the city’s most prestigious organization that we can all be proud of.
Q: The non-musical accomplishment you are most proud of is…?
A: My cousin and I designed and programmed a free memory game for iPhone called "Mozart Brain," and there were well over 30,000 users worldwide who downloaded the game between 2009 and 2010 without any promotion by us!