Sean Chen & Inder Verma

February 22, 2015

Sean Chen is the 2013 DeHaan Classical Fellow of the American Pianists Association. Crystal Award winner (Third Prize) at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Second Prize winner at the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition, Third Prize winner at the 2013 Morocco Philharmony International Piano Competition, and prizewinner at the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition, Mr. Chen has performed with several orchestras, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz, Suwon City Philharmonic under Dai Uk Lee, Ft. Worth Symphony with Leonard Slatkin, New West Symphony with Boris Brott, and the Juilliard Orchestra under David Atherton.

Other awards Mr. Chen has received include Juilliard’s 2010 Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, Juilliard’s 2010 Munz Scholarship, the 2010 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, the Evelyn Bonar Storrs Scholarship, first prize at the 2008 Juilliard Concerto Competition, the Glenn Miller Scholarship, a prize at the California International Young Artist Competition, Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Award, and a NFAA ARTSweek award.

Mr. Chen has also presented solo recitals under the auspices of the McGraw-Hill Company, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, New West Symphony, National Chopin Foundation, the Scriabin Society, the Ventura Music Festival, and the Young Artist Guild of the Music Teachers Association of California. He has also worked with composers to perform new music, such as those by Lisa Bielawa, Michael Williams, Nicco Athens, Michael Gilbertson, and Reinaldo Moya. He will be releasing an album of Michael Williams’s solo piano works on the Parma record label, and as part of his prize at American Pianists Association, a solo recording on the Steinway label.
In the coming two seasons, Mr. Chen will be performing under the management of the American Pianists Association.

Sean Chen has received his Master’s and Bachelor’s degree at the Juilliard School and is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma with Hung-Kuan Chen at the Yale School of Music as a George W. Miles fellowship recipient. His former teachers include Jerome Lowenthal, Matti Raekallio, and teacher-mentor Edward Francis. When not at the piano he enjoys tinkering with computers and composing.

Inder Verma, an American Cancer Society Professor in the Laboratory of Genetics, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the development of viruses for gene therapy vectors. Dr. Verma uses genetically engineered viruses to insert new genes into cells that can then be returned to the body where they produce the essential protein whose absence causes disease.

Dr. Verma and his Salk colleagues developed a gene therapy vector, based on a stripped-down version of HIV, that can deliver genes to non-dividing cells. They have used this vector successfully to deliver the clotting factor gene to laboratory animals and to transfer a therapeutic gene to retinal cells to mice with an inborn deficiency. Dr. Verma’s group is using lentiviral vectors to generate mouse models of human cancer. His laboratory also studies the function of two genes implicated in familial breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, and recently demonstrated that their action is linked to the cell’s division cycle and that BRCA1 regulates gene and heterochromatin activity.

Dr. Verma was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Third World Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and is also a Foreign Fellow to the National Academy of Sciences, India. Among several prestigious awards, he was named recipient of the 2008 Vilcek Prize in biomedical science, a March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation Franklin D. Roosevelt Investigator in 1997, the NIH Outstanding Investigator in 1988, and the 2010 Pasarow award in cancer research.