Always interested in exploring new dramatic forms, recent projects for Justine F. Chen include a song cycle/monodrama for soprano Jennifer Zetlan PHILOMEL, taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and her second opera JEANNE, a fractured account of the life of Joan of Arc.
Her first operatic work, computer-enhanced chamber opera, THE MAIDEN TOWER, initially presented at Juilliard, was featured in New York City Opera's VOX 2006: Showcasing American Composers, and had its international première in Montréal with Chants Libres in December 2008. When featured in NYCO's VOX 2008, the New York Times described JEANNE as "lyrical, atmospheric... striking… Throughout, Ms. Chen balances despair and humor."
As composer-in-residence for Long Leaf Opera, she was commissioned to write a youth opera. Three, Two, One - BANG!, a modern teenage American adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, premiered in 2008 and was praised by the Classical Voice of North Carolina as "charming and provocative… practical and entrancing."
Organizations who have commissioned and performed her music include New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, The Juilliard School, New York Festival of Song, New Juilliard Ensemble, Washington Ballet, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic.
For the theater, she has
written the incidental music for numerous productions, including a score for
Playwright's Theater of New Jersey's run of James Glossman's
THE SPECIAL PRISONER, which juxtaposed traditional musical aesthetics of Noh theater with soundscapes of the
modern world. In 2001, she scored digital artist Yewon
Cho's animation TRILEMMA, which was screened at the Hiroshima Animation
Festival, New York Expo, Student Academy Awards, and broadcast on PBS's
Formal training in violin and
composition began at Juilliard's Pre-College
Division, and in dance at the
Ms. Chen is currently working on a new children's opera for North Carolina Opera, commissioned for performance in 2010-2011.