The Chinese pianist, Pi-hsien Chen, began to take piano lessons when she was four. At the early age of five she gave her first public performance. The nine year old girl was sent to Germany to continue her studies at the Musikhochschule in Köln. One year later, she was admitted in the class of Hans-Otto Schmidt-Neuhaus. She received her diploma as a concert pianist in 1970. In the following years she pursued her studies with Hans Leygraf and took part in piano courses given by Wilhelm Kempff, Tatiana Nikolayeva and Geza Anda. In 1972 she won international appreciation with a prize at the Concours Reine Elisabeth and the first prize in the competition of the Rundfunkanstalten in Munich (ARD International Piano Competition). Later lshe won the first prizes at the Arnold Schonberg Competition in Rotterdam and at the J.S.Bach Competition in Washington D.C.
Since then Pi-hsien Chen has given performances at important places such as London, Amsterdam, Zürich, Berlin, Munich and Tokyo. She has played with famous orchestras, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, ORTF, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester (Munich), HR-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt), Suedwestdeutsche Rundfunk Sinfonieorcheter, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg and Radio-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, as well as the Zürcher Kammerorchester, Tonhalle Orchester and Collegium Musicum Zürich. Conductors, with whom she has worked, were Bernard Haitink, Paul Sacher, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Marek Janowsky, Hans Zendr, Péter Eötvös, Jean Martinon, Ferdinand Leitner, Peter Neumann, Bernhard Klee, Rieger, Inbal, de Stoutz, Bour, Stein, Lawrence Foster and others. She was partner of Hermann Baumann, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Augustin Dumay, Alyssa Park, Wolfgang Meyer and Julius Berger. She took part in numerous music festivals: she gave performances in the Schwetzinger Festspiele, the London Prom's, the Osaka Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Festival d'Automne Paris, the Festival Wien Modern and the Triennale Cologne 1994 and 1997, as well as the Festivals of Lucerne and Osaka.
Her increasing interest and engagement for contemporary music grew in the cooperation with composers as John Cage, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen and György Kurtág. In 1999, Pi-hsien Chen was successfully touring in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Besides that she performed music by contemporary German composers and pieces by John Cage and Elliott Carter on different German festivals. Celebrating the Millennium, she will play concerts in the National Gallery in Berlin on New Year's Evening and Day. She will appear in EXPO 2000 in Hannover solo and as a partner of Alfons Kontarsky to represent the German Contemporary Music Institute from Darmstadt.
Since 1983 (or 1993), Pi-hsien Chen has been a professor for the piano at the Musikhochschule in Koln; and since 2004 she holds a similar position at the Hochschule in Freiburg im Breisgau.
Available on CD are: J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) (Naxox); Pierre Boulez: Notations and Structures II, with B. Wambach (CBS); O. Messiaen: Harawi with S.V. Osten (ITM); Jean Barraqué and Pierre Boulez: Sonatas (Telos); York Höller: Signals (Largo); Arnold Schoenberg: Complete Piano Music for Two Hands (hat-now-art); Xiaoyong Chen: Invisible Landscapes (Radio Bremen).