CelloChia-Ling Chien

Associate Principal

Cellist Chia-Ling Chien was appointed as the Associate Principal Cello of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in 2008 by Music Director Jahja Ling, and she joined the Orchestra in 2009.

Ms. Chien was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and began playing the piano at the age of six and cello at the age of nine. Her first public cello performance was a year later at the age of ten, soon followed by her first honor of winning first place of the National Taiwan Youth Cello Competition at the age of 12. Her awards include: four years as first prize winner in the Taipei Cello Competition; second prize winner of the National Taiwan Cello Competition; second prize winner of the International Taipei Chopin Piano Competition; The Best Bach Performance Prize for Strings at the Corpus Christi International Competition; winner of the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition; the Ellis A. Feiman Memorial Award in Cello; the Anna Sosenko Trust Foundation Award; and a Colburn Foundation instrument sponsorship.

As an active chamber musician and a recitalist, Ms. Chien has performed throughout the United States and Asia. Her festival appearances include the Pacific Music Festival; the Blossom Music Festival; the Aspen Music Festival and School; the Sarasota Music Festival; the Perlman Music Program; and La Jolla SummerFest. She has collaborated over the years with many musicians such as Gil Shaham, Vadim Repin, Itzhak Perlman, Augustin Hadelich, Olga Kern and Avi Avital.

Actively involved as an educator, Ms. Chien currently serves as Acting Professor of Cello at the University of San Diego. Every September, she also conducts a masterclass on both cello and chamber music at the SooChow University in her native country, Taiwan.

Chia-Ling Chien is a graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees (2007, 2009). Her principal teachers are Desmond Hoebig, Stephen Geber and Michael Mermagen.


Q: How did you choose your instrument?

A: I was chosen to play cello because I was the tallest person in my class. 

Q: What is your favorite travel destination? 

A: Taiwan (my original home) 

Q: What good book have you read lately? 

A: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle and Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

Q: What do you love most about San Diego (aside from the weather)? 

A: The beaches and the ocean

Q: What is your choice for dining in San Diego? 

A: ChiaChia's Kitchen

Q: Where might you find me on a Saturday night if I’m not performing with the Orchestra? 

A: ChiaChia’s Kitchen, experiencing making new cuisines.