Theresa Chen, D.M.A., is an active, well-rounded musician. She is an improvising keyboardist, accompanist, composer/arranger, pedagogue, and Catholic music minister.
Dr. Chen currently serves as an assistant professor of jazz studies at Texas A&M University--Kingsville (TAMUK). She is the first Taiwanese-American to teach jazz at the music college in the United States. Before moving to Texas, she served as an instructor of applied jazz piano, songwriting, history of jazz, and director/co-director of Groovy Sunkist funk combo and Orange Juice jazz combo at Syracuse University for five years. She taught functional jazz piano courses and secondary jazz piano lessons from 2013-2018 when she was a teaching assistant at the Eastman School of Music. She also has given clinics, lectures, and masterclasses around Taiwan and America. Her first jazz album, Whispering to God, was released digitally in December 2021 and physically in July 2022. The album's title track was nominated in the Best Jazz Tune category of the 2022 Golden Indie Music Awards in Taiwan. Chen was also nominated in the top 8 for the People’s Choice—Artist/Band category of the 2023 Syracuse Area Music Awards.
Dr. Chen has shared the stage with famous jazz artists such as Gary Smulyan, Ingrid Jensen, Dave Liebman, Bria Skonberg, Boris Kozlov, Victor Provost, Allison Miller, Chien-Chien Lu and Scott Wendholt. She also performed at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, WGMC-Jazz90.1 Radio Station, Civic Morning Musicals, Syracuse Opera, WCNY (Symphoria), and many other prominent jazz venues in Taiwan and Central New York.
Dr. Chen never stops promoting the music of her own culture. In November 2013, she was involved in the composer’s project held by the Ethnomusicology Department at NTNU. Her arrangements of two Taiwanese folk songs, “Latin Ferry” and "Fantasy on a Theme of Flowers in the Rainy Night", were recorded on an album, “The Sound of Antique,” performed by Taiwanese flutist Dr. Chia-Fen Tsai and published. Her other two works, “The Song of Taibalang” and her arrangement of Mary Lou Williams' "Lonely Moments," won the Outstanding Composition and Outstanding Arrangement--Small Ensemble at Graduate College category of the 2017-18 Downbeat Student Music Awards.
Dr. Chen is devoted to a series of performance projects on women jazz instrumentalists, historical improvisations, jazz in Asia, pedagogical methods of jazz/commercial music theory/history, and jazz music applied in Christian liturgies. She published two quick-hit articles--on teaching jazz standards writing and stride piano playing--via the latest issue of Jazz Education in Research and Practice journal. Invited by her alma mater National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and the Department of Teacher and Art Education of the Ministry of Education in the summer of 2022, she has created jazz/commercial music teaching materials for high school students.
Born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in Chiayi, Taiwan, Dr. Chen received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in classical piano at National Taiwan Normal University in 2013 with a Certificate in Digital Visual and Sound Arts and minors in flute and voice. In 2015 and 2018, she earned Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in jazz piano performance at Eastman School Music, with a minor in Music Theory and a Certificate of Advanced Achievement in the Art of Improvisation. She has studied jazz and historical improvisations with the legendary jazz pianist Harold Danko, Gary Versace, Bill Dobbins, Dr. Dariusz Terefenko, Vincent Lenti, and organist/harpsichordist Edoardo Bellotti.
Dr. Chen is also passionate about organ and sacred music. So far, she has served at many Catholic churches in Taiwan and America, including St John's Cathedral in Chiayi City, Sacred Heart Church at Guting, Immaculate Conception Church at Fu-Ren University, St. Paul's Church at Xinchuang, St Anne Church in Rochester, New York, Churhc of Most Holy Rosary Church in Syracuse, New York. She was the sub-dean of the American Guild of Organists-Syracuse Chapter and hosted many workshops in organ improvisations, hymn accompanying, and transcribing.
Dr. Chen enjoys other interests besides art, such as American and Taiwanese cultures, meteorology, ornithology, psychology, feminism, language, herpetology, interpersonal relationship and communications, geology, geography, and geometry.
陳含章博士，台裔全方位音樂人。身兼鍵盤即興演奏家、作/編曲家、伴奏家、教育家以及天主教禮儀音樂工作者等數職。先後獲得國立台灣師範大學音樂系鋼琴組學士、美國伊斯曼音樂學院(Eastman School of Music)爵士音樂系碩博士，取得古典鋼琴以及爵士鋼琴演奏學位，亦為華人首位爵士鋼琴演奏博士 (第二位台灣爵士演奏博士)。現任德州農工大學金斯維爾分校爵士樂專任助理教授，為首位於美國正規大學音樂系教授爵士樂的台灣人。曾於紐約州雪城大學(Syracuse University)擔任爵士鋼琴暨爵士音樂史與商業流行歌曲創作課程兼任教授以及指導雪大融合爵士樂團以及進階爵士樂團。於2021年12月以數位、翌年七月以實體發行首張個人爵士聖樂專輯《給老天爺的悄悄話》(Whispering to God)，並著手進行爵士樂與天主教禮儀之關係(爵士彌撒曲)研究。其中同名曲"給老天爺的悄悄話"入圍2022金音創作獎最佳爵士歌曲獎。今年也入圍雪城當地音樂獎項(The SAMMY's)觀眾票選最佳個人/團體前八強。
學生時期師事葉綠娜教授、Harold Danko教授、Bill Dobbins教授（前德國科隆WDR大樂團音樂總監與指揮）、波蘭籍爵士音樂理論家Dariusz Terefenko博士、大樂團作曲家Bob Brookmeyer之弟子Dave Rivello教授、古典鋼琴教育家Vincent Lenti教授、義大利大鍵琴/管風琴演奏家Edoardo Bellotti教授以及葛萊美獎提名電風琴演奏家Gary Versace等大師。先後曾與爵士小號演奏家Bria Skonberg、Ingrid Jensen、Scott Wendholt，薩克管演奏家Gary Smulyan、Dave Liebman、鐵琴手魯千千以及鼓手Allison Miller等大師同台演出。
陳氏的音樂學術研究範圍相當廣泛與多元，包括西洋古典音樂即興演奏、世界女性爵士鋼琴手的演奏風格以及歷史貢獻、爵士樂在亞洲的發展史、爵士/流行樂理暨音樂史教學法，更積極開發爵士音樂以及流行音樂相關教材。2016、2020、2022年初受全美最具聲望的爵士教育組織Jazz Education Network之邀，分別於肯塔基州、紐奧良以及達拉斯發表英國女鋼琴家Marian McPartland獨奏鋼琴即興風格以及爵士標準曲寫作之教學法，為台灣首位參與此研討會的爵士樂手。2023年一月，陳氏所撰之兩篇爵士教學法相關文章刊登於最新一期美國新興爵士教育期刊Jazz Education in Research and Practice，探討爵士標準曲寫作教學法以及1920爵士獨奏鋼琴風格stride style之教學法。近期受母校台灣師範大學音樂系及教育部師資培育及藝術教育司委託，參與第五學習階段音樂藝術才能班素養導向國際性之教材研發與師資培訓計畫，並撰寫爵士/流行音樂相關教材。