Bienen School of Music alumna Phyllis Chen ’00 MMus has been awarded a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition.

Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. This year, the Guggenheim Foundation awarded 180 fellowships to a diverse group of artists, writers, scholars, and scientists from a pool of nearly 2,500 applicants.

The fellowship will allow Chen to create an original work using Isamu Noguchi's sculptures as musical instruments. The work will result in a sound installation-performance at the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York. According to Chen, it is a rare occasion when pieces of fine art are used as sounding musical instruments.

Described by The New York Times as “spellbinding” and “delightfully quirky matched with interpretive sensitivity,” Chen is a composer and sound artist whose music draws from her tactile exploration of object and sound. She has performed her music at the Lincoln Center, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Abrons Arts Center, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Los Angeles County Museum, and Baryshnikov Arts Center. She has received commissions from organizations such as the International Contemporary Ensemble, A Far Cry, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Claire Chase Density Project, Opera Cabal, Singapore International Festival of the Arts, Look and Listen Festival, and others. A founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Chen is also founder of the UnCaged Toy Piano to promote new works for unusual instruments. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory, master’s degree from Northwestern, and doctoral degree from Indiana University.

Photo Credit: Carrie Schneider


  • piano
  • alumni