Ian Chen is a Taiwanese-Canadian composer, orchestrator, and experimental multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles. He most recently completed the score for Australian director Amy Wang’s UNNATURAL, which won her Gold in the Young Director Award at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He also composed and produced the score for journalist and director Dongnan Chen’s harrowing documentary THE TRAIL FROM XINJIANG (winner of Best Documentary Award at the 36th Asian American International Film Festival). This year his score for American documentary THIS LAND was nominated at numerous international film music events, such as Fimucité in Spain, and will be competing for the Crystal Pine Award at the International Sound & Film Music Festival in Pula, Croatia alongside strong contenders such as Oscar-winning film ICARUS.
Ian studied classical and modern orchestral composition at Cornell University, and furthered his education at NYU Steinhardt’s film music graduate program. His music is a unique blend of electronics, classical orchestration, and contemporary sampling techniques. He is proficient in a multitude of musical instruments across different musical families and cultural backgrounds, and his focus on texture and colour allows him to create soundscapes that are unique to each project, whether it be his solo works or on the big screen.
Alongside his film works, Ian also writes for live theatre, and is a prolific orchestra conductor and performer. In 2009 he founded the Cornell Eastern Music Ensemble in Ithaca, NY, and has lead the ensemble to grow into a 30-piece modern Chinese orchestra, releasing 2 albums containing many of his arrangements. In 2012, he was invited by the New Jersey Buddha’s Light Youth Chinese Orchestra to arrange music for, and conduct in, their 10th anniversary concert. In 2013 he collaborated with contemporary dancers Dai Jian and Elena Demyanenko from the renowned Trisha Brown Dance Company to create the theatrical piece BLUE ROOM, which was commissioned by New York Live Arts and was acclaimed in The New York Times.