Oliver Chen'22 Honored for Espousing Olympic Principles Through Music and Philanthropy

By invitation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Oliver Chen ’22 performed Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6” at a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration in January hosted by the Lausanne Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Chen is an award-winning pianist, achieving gold medals in the Steinway Youth Piano Competition and the Imola International Piano Competition in Italy. He earned the Outstanding Performance award at China’s National BOYA Piano Festival and Best Musicality award at the María Herrero International Piano Competition in Spain.

IOC president Thomas Bach presented Chen with an Olympic badge at the performance. The two bonded over their shared interest in the sport of fencing which Chen practices; Bach was a 1976 Olympic gold medalist in the sport. Bach encouraged Chen to continue to promote the principles of Olympism, which seek to create a better way of life by blending sport with culture, education, and international cooperation.

Fabio Witkowski, chair of the visual and performing arts department and Chen’s piano instructor said, “Oliver is a terrific musician, but more importantly, he is a great member of our community. He sets a great tone by consistently working hard in the music program. Onstage, he is a tour-de-force pianist.”

Prior to spring break, Chen performed Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 for fellow students during Chapel, where he received an immediate and enthusiastic standing ovation from students and faculty. 

When the COVID-19 first struck in Wuhan, China, Chen started Led By Youth, a social media initiative to procure face masks from Switzerland for schools and hospitals in Wuhan. When the outbreak began in the U.S., he sent supplies to Waterbury Hospital, to first responders in Madison, CT, and to the Hotchkiss campus.

Chen plans to turn Led By Youth into a nonprofit for charitable outreach.. One item on his agenda: a music festival that will promote the principles of Olympism.

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