Pianist, arranger and film composer Wi Chen began training in classical music at the age of four, going on to earn a Bachelor of Music in piano and composition in her native Taiwan. Chen said her schooling and work had all been traditional composition, before she came to New York University to pursue a masters in scoring for film and multimedia. “When I got there, I was like, wow,” Chen said. “And there was a movie called Interstellar. The composer was Hans Zimmer, and I remember being really inspired by that film. The score just dragged you in.”
At NYU, Chen studied with film composers Irwin Fisch and Michael Patterson, and in 2017, she won the NYU Film Scoring Competition in the Animation Short category. Her first major gig in scoring music for multimedia was for a commercial. A tip of the trade in developing her craft: “When you receive an assignment, don’t think so much, is it bad or good?” she says. “Just write out all the ideas you have in your head, whether it’s bad or good.”
Chen has written music for short films, documentaries, music videos and concert music, and her composition styles have included classical chamber music, pop songs, jazz and electric music. In addition to the NYU award for Film Composition, Chen has received gold medal awards in Taiwan, Japan and Austria. She is currently working with Playground Sessions in New York, arranging songs from around the world and across genres, including some of Harry Connick, Jr.’s original music; creating backing tracks for piano arrangements to accompany users while they learn songs; and composing original music for some of Playground’s music theory courses. Chen is also a teacher in the Playground app, providing tips and teaching songs.