Yibai Chen

"Yibai Chen impressed me enormously from the first moment I heard him. He is a tremendous talent!" — Daniel Hope

"Chen’s performance came down like a light, we were taken to another world." — Belgium “La Libre”


Prize winner of four international cello competitions, Yibai Chen is emerging as one of the most promising cellists of his generation. His playing has been described as “nothing short of remarkable”, “a flawless technique yet displaying sincere tenderness and sensitivity” and “a personal sound and true stage presence”.

At the age of 16 in 2018, Chen was awarded two top prizes at the 10th Lutoslawski International Cello Competition in Warsaw and the 60th George Enescu International Cello Competition in Bucharest in the same year as the youngest participant. In June 2019 he won the fifth prize at the 16th Tchaikovsky International Cello competition in Saint Petersburg. Chen’s most recent achievement was in June 2022 by winning the second prize at the 2nd Queen Elisabeth International Cello Competition in Brussels.

Chen has recently performed numerous successful concerts such as playing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with Belgium National Orchestra under the baton of Eivind Aadland on a Belgium tour; Recitals with pianist Boyang Shi on a China tour; Korea tour with cellist Hayoung Choi and pianist Liebrecht Vanbeckevoort. Chen was also exclusively invited by conductor Teodor Currentzis to be part of his newly founded Utopia Orchestra’s very first tour project in Europe. On 29th December 2022 in Beijing, Chen performed Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Cello Concerto as its China premiere with China Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Long Yu at the 2023 New Year’s Concert.

Chen has extensive musical experience since his early time. In 2013 and 2015 he was selected for Morningside Music Bridge, an international music campus presented by Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. In 2016 he participated in a masterclass given by Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt at Cello Akademie Rutesheim and he was chosen to perform Sarasate 'Zigeunerweisen' with Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim at the closing concert of the festival. Since the age of 11, he started performing frequently with Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Muhai Tang.

Since winning his first international prize in 2018, Chen was invited to perform at many prestigious festivals and concert venues. He performed Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto with Amadeus Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Agnieszka Duczmal at the “Chopin and His Europe” festival in Warsaw. In 2019 June he performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz directed by Eckart Manke. In August he performed Haydn’s D major Cello Concerto at Brooklyn Theatre in South-Africa with Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gina Beukes and was immediately invited back to perform with Cape Town Philharmonic and to give a recital in Pretoria. In September he was invited to play at the renowned “George Enescu Festival” with Banatul Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Nicolas Piovani. In November at the opening concert of "Viva Cello” festival in Moscow, he performed Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso No.1 with Danjulo Ishizaka and German cellist Claudio Bohorquez with Russian Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Maciej Tworek. In the same month he performed Brahms Double Concerto with violinist Ning Feng and Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Liu Peng; he has given performances at the 4th International Shanghai Cello Festival. During 2020-21, Chen has collaborated often with pianist Boyang Shi and played recitals in Jaguar·Shanghai Symphony Concert Hall, Cadillac·Shanghai Concert Hall, Jiangsu Grand Theatre etc. In July 2021, he was invited to play Philip Glass Cello Concerto No.1 as his debut with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra directed by Long Yu at the closing concert of the 12th “MISA” Music Festival.

Chen was born in 2001 and embarked on his cello career since he was five years old and has been trained under Professor Meijuan Liu in Music Middle School Affiliated To Shanghai Conservatory Of Music until the end of 2016. In 2017 he moved to Berlin to study with Professor Danjulo Ishizaka at the University of the Arts Berlin. Currently Chen continues his studies with Prof. Ishizaka at the University of Music Basel. He has took part in masterclasses given by David Geringas, Jens Peter Maintz, Jian Wang, Martti Rousi, Liwei Qin, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Gabriel Schwabe, Wen-Sinn Yang; violinist Daniel Hope and pianist Jacques Ammon.

In 2020 December, Chen has been invited to sign as “Young Artist in Residence at Music Middle School Affiliated To Shanghai Conservatory Of Music”.

Chen is playing on a cello by Joseph Guadagnini ca .1780-1800 on loan of German Foundation “Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben Hamburg”.