Teng Chen, (she/her)

(BM ’17, piano/recording arts; MA ’17, acoustical studies)

Audio Engineer

Teng Chen is a Chinese, New York City based audio engineer, music mixer, music editor with multiple EMMY and GRAMMY nominations.

Now a pre-record and re-record music editor and music mixer at NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Teng began her studies at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, and graduated with a duo Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance / Recording Arts and Sciences, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Acoustical Studies.

Over the past decade, Teng has been an recording and mixing engineer for some of the most prestigious symphony orchestras in the United States, (such as The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonics), and collaborated with musicians such as John Williams, Yo Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Renee Felming, Itzhak Perlman, etc.

In addition to her work in the classical music community, Teng is also known for her work in TV broadcast and film. She has been a returning audio engineer at TV specials such as the Grammy Awards Ceremony Broadcast, MTV’s Music Video Awards, Superbowl, NBA All Star Games, Formula 1 Grand Prix, just to name a few. Teng’s also been an assistant engineer in recording sessions for film and TV shows, such as HBO’s Succession, Dear Evan Hanson, etc.

Tell us about your journey to your current career path. What were the pivotal moments? What surprised you?

I moved to NYC in 2017 with an office job as an acoustic consultant. While working at that job, I slowly started building my network in the music industry, by connecting with more musicians in the city. Eventually these connections helped me land a few assistant gigs in recording studios. Then a year later, I got the job at SNL by referral from another engineer. After I started working at SNL, I started expanding my network and eventually became well connected in TV, live audio and recording studios, which is key to filling up my schedule as a freelance engineer.

What opportunities did you take advantage of in school that helped you to build helpful skills and experiences?

  • I took advantage of the facilities at the Recording Arts department as much as I can. Spending tons of time in the studio practicing my craft.
  • Reached out to my professor and alumni’s connection while at school and always had a summer job and part time job as an audio engineer, to make sure that I would already have a few years of professional experience in the industry.

How do you share your work with colleagues, collaborators, and audiences using media and work samples?

I use Instagram and Facebook as a main source of promotion for myself and my business.

How has your network and/or community impacted your professional journey?

Sometimes you just have to follow the natural course of where life takes you. I had very specific plans years ago about what kind of music and artist I wanted to work with, but life doesn’t always obey your plans and that’s okay! I started working industry jobs based on professional referrals from people that I’ve met at different occasions. These jobs may not be what I had planned to do years ago, but they provide more challenge and stimulation. I ended up liking them.

Who has been an influential mentor for you and why?

I have so many mentors over the years in different fields of the entertainment industry. It’s hard to name one. But one thing they have in common is that they all have good people skills, which is so important in this industry.

Have your goals and priorities changed over time? If so, how?

My life has always been career-oriented until recent years. However, after seeing many successful engineers with extremely busy schedules, poor work-life balance, and going through health problems, my priority has slowly shifted to living a happy, fulfilling and healthy life. Finding a healthy work-life balance has been the new goal as I’ve become more established in the industry.

Hear more from Teng Chen here in her Max Q podcast episode!


Social Media