Felicia Chen is a dynamic vocalist and improviser with an affinity for contemporary art music. Through her fearless approach toward the creation and interpretation of new works, Felicia eschews boundaries that limit the definition of music. Praised by The Boston Musical Intelligencer for creating "siren-like sounds that explored extremes of the vocal range," Felicia employs a wide arsenal of extended techniques ranging from vocal percussion to multiphonic singing. A firm believer that classical music can be a catalyst for social commentary and change, Felicia frequently collaborates with composers, musicians, and poets whose voices are underrepresented in the field.
Current projects include Mazumal, a voice and cello duo that programs new works championing diversity, and KITA duo, which explores timbral playfulness between voice and percussion. This season includes premieres of works by Kaley Lane Eaton, Jen Wang, Bahar Royaee, Eden Rayz, and Andrew Harlan; faculty recitals at Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory, where Felicia will be performing works by Marti Epstein, Curtis Hughes, and Jonathan Bailey Holland; KITA duo performances of George Crumb's complete Madrigals and Luciano Berio’s Circles, and an all-Aperghis concert with Black Sheep Contemporary Ensemble. Felicia is the co-founder of the recently launched Boston New Music Calendar, a community resource that supports the local new music scene.
Felicia was a 2017 resident artist at the Banff Centre, as part of the Improviser’s View of Notated Music, where she further explored extended vocal techniques through improvisation, graphic scores, and cross-discipline collaboration. Felicia was also in residence at Fresh Inc Festival, where she performed Dai Fujikura's being as one, alongside Georges Aperghis' theatrical Sept Crimes de l'Amour.
Felicia's recent past seasons has encompassed monumental works from influential composers of the last century, including two performances of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Boston Conservatory), Druckman’s Animus II, Babbitt’s Philomel, and Ligeti’s Aventures (Berklee Words and Music Festival). At Boston Conservatory, Felicia was a core member of the institution's Contemporary Music Ensemble, performing numerous chamber and solo works by prominent contemporary composers. Felicia was featured as a soloist in the New Music Festival for both years of her graduate degree, singing Crumb’s American Songbook I with the Boston Conservatory Percussion Ensemble, and Muhly's Object Songs in performance and a masterclass with the composer.
In 2016, Felicia was the sole vocal fellow in the inaugural year of the Contemporary Performance Institute at Composers Conference. Under the direction of acclaimed cellist Fred Sherry, Felicia performed excerpts from Pierrot Lunaire and Currier’s Vocalissimus, in addition to chamber works by Berio, Carter, and Sheng. Felicia also held residencies at soundSCAPE Music Festival and the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP) at New England Conservatory. That same year, Felicia made her solo debut with the DuBois Orchestra at Harvard University (in Fanny Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang) and with Chimera New Music, performing a program of works by Scelsi, Carter, and Babbitt.
Felicia was a guest artist with Celli@Berkeley, with whom she performed Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, and premiered Jared Redmond’s Deep Song. Written for Felicia and 12 cellos, the piece is featured on the ensemble’s debut album. Felicia has been a frequent soloist with her alma mater, UC Berkeley, including performances of Bach’s B Minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Felix Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang Symphony-Cantata, and Purcell’s Dioclesian.
Felicia’s primary mentors are new music exponents Lucy Shelton and Tony Arnold. Felicia is a recipient of the UC Berkeley Alfred Hertz Memorial Traveling Fellowship, which enabled her to study with Ms. Shelton in New York. Felicia holds degrees from Boston Conservatory, where she was a part of the inaugural class of the Contemporary Music Performance graduate program, and the University of California at Berkeley.