Audrey Chen is a second-generation Chinese/Taiwanese-American musician born into a family of material scientists, doctors and engineers outside of Chicago in 1976. Parting ways with family convention, she chose to study cello at age 8 and voice at 11. After years of classical conservatory training with a resulting specialization in early and new music, she parted ways again after the birth of her son in 2000, to begin new negotiations with sound, discovering a more individually honest aesthetic. Based in Berlin since 2011, Chen has performed across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Her compositions explore the combination and layering of unprocessed voice, cello, and analog electronics; resulting in a unique formulation of non-linear storytelling. Chen uses prepared, traditional, and extended techniques with both voice and cello, joining these elements with the electronics into a singular ecstatic personal language.
Chen performs currently with Phil Minton; as HISS & VISCERA with modular synth player Richard Scott; as BEAM SPLITTER with trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø; as MOPCUT with Lukas König and Julien Desprez; and as duo for voice/live digital process with Mexican sound artist Hugo Esquinca. Notable past collaborators include German conceptual artist John Bock and abstract turntablist Maria Chavez.
“…fascinating and gripping…possessing something extremely vital and vivid…” – David Harrington (Kronos Quartet)
“Audrey Chen has created an uncompromising and idiosyncratic music, tightly disciplined yet acoustically wild and heavy with implication. Her ultra-verbal vocalising, often reminiscent of the visceral and emotionally charged sound poetry of François Dufréne or Henri Chopin, exposes physiological aspects of utterance that are concealed within standardised articulation and day to day speech. Fleshy, breath-driven and flecked with spittle, Chen’s voice emanates not just from her mouth but from an ensemble of upper body surfaces, channels, passages, and cavities.”- Julien Cowley THE WIRE