Shaun Chen is a composer, conductor, and violinist whose work spans concert and film music, musical theatre, and music/sound design for the stage. He has most notably received acclaim for his new silent film score to Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) for 5 voices and chamber orchestra, premiered live to picture in 2019 by the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra. Other recent world premieres include his string quartet 6 Impossible Things Before Breakfast by the JACK Quartet (2018) and Dreamscapes I, II, III for large ensemble by Richard Carrick’s Neither/Nor Ensemble (2020).
Chen is vigorously involved as a conductor of both concert and film music, having served as the 2019/20 Music Director of the Berklee Motion Picture Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra (2018 – 2020). Other orchestras he has conducted include the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra.
In 2019, Chen was the recipient of the Georges Delerue Endowment for Outstanding Achievement in Film Scoring and the Jim Reyes Award for Outstanding Vocal Composition. He later went on to receive the Tibor Pusztai Award for Outstanding Achievement in Conducting in 2020. He has most recently been nominated for Best Original Music and Sound Design (Dance) in the 17th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards 2020 for his original score to Shades of Shadow, premiered as part of Mixed Bill of Contemporary Dance Works featuring Kenny Shim Collective and Mobius Dance.
As a violinist, Chen is active in both the realms of classical and contemporary music, having appeared with Jacob Collier, Justin Timberlake, and John Legend. He has also enjoyed performing with Charlie Rosen’s 8-Bit Big Band and rock-and-roll fusion band TMJB. Chen is a regular session musician, having done studio recordings for Thomas Newman, Harry Gregson-Williams, Pinar Toprak, Trevor Morris, and Onn San.
Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Chen began his extensive training in classical music at the age of 5 with the piano. 4 years later, after witnessing an unforgettable performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, he set his sights on the violin and began performing in various orchestras and ensembles. It was during those formative years when his love for the orchestra blossomed, along with the musical exposure and knowledge that would later propel his creative pursuits. After a year at the International College of Music in Kuala Lumpur, Chen moved to the United States to further his studies in composition, film scoring, and conducting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where he graduated from in 2020. He currently resides in Los Angeles, collaborating frequently with composers Tom Howe, Nathan Whitehead, Jim Dooley, Chanda Dancy, and George Shaw.