Sean Chen & Karen Joy Davis with Julie Law

April 24, 2016

Sean Chen and Karen Joy Davis

Sean Chen

Pianist Sean Chen is widely hailed as a rising star with a “million-volt smile” and a “formidable set of fingers,” according to the Dallas Morning News. In 2013, he won the American Pianists Association’s DeHaan Classical Fellowship, one of the most lucrative and significant prizes available to an American pianist. He also won third prize at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, becoming the first American to reach the finals since 1997.

The 27-year-old American pianist has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony, among others.

Among the highlights of Chen’s 2014-15 season were debuts with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra at the Kimmel Center and his return to the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. He also appears in the Steinway Recital Series at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Born in 1988 in Florida, Chen grew up in the Los Angeles area. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School and his Artist Diploma at the Yale School of Music. He has been featured in a nationally syndicated radio series that chronicled the finals week of APA’s competition, as well as From the Top and American Public Media’s Performance Today. In March 2014, Steinway & Sons released his solo album, La Valse, recorded as part of his substantial APA prize, and International Piano magazine named Chen “One To Watch.”

Karen Joy Davis

Karen Joy Davis, a native of the Washington D.C. area, made her debut with the National Symphony Orchestra playing Mozart’s Concerto K. 467 when she was 12. She attended high school at Interlochen Arts Academy and North Carolina School of the Arts, and continued her piano studies at the Juilliard School after winning the National Society of Arts and Letters Competition. Other first prizes include the Bartok Competition, the Baldwin Competition and the Inter-American Festival Competition. She was also a finalist in the Namburg Foundation Competition.

Davis studied with Yida Novik, Irwin Freundlich, Leon Fleisher, Arminda Canteros and Maria Curcio, and completed her chamber music studies with Riccardo Brengola in Siena and Oscar Shumsky at Juilliard. She has performed in recital and with orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, South America and Europe at such venues as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Heinz Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Strathmore Center and the Kravis Center. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, the Fairfax Symphony, the McClean Symphony, the Orchestre National de Toulouse, the Orquestra de Camara Fortaleza, the Sao Paulo Symphony and the Redlands Symphony.

Additionally, Davis is an avid chamber music player and has performed at numerous festivals: Aspen, Spoleto, Friends of the Arts Beethoven Festival and Accademia Chigiana in Siena, among others. From 2003 to 2005, she played with the prominent Tango group, Quintango, and in 2011 and 2013, she was featured in well-received programs about Chopin and Schumann on WFMT Chicago. Davis participates in the Juilliard National Council and is the Executive Producer of the Salk Science & Music Series. She resides in San Diego, California.

Julie Law is an assistant professor in the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory. Her research interest is to elucidate the mechanisms by which epigenetic modifications are translated into stable expression states – a poorly understood process critical for proper gene regulation, imprinting, genome integrity, and development. Her extensive training in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and genomics will bring new technology to the Institute to complement and enhance existing groups working on plants and other epigenetic models at the Salk.