Theresa Chen, D. M. A., is a well-rounded musician. She is a pianist, improviser, accompanist, composer, arranger, educator and a Catholic music minister. She now serves as an adjunct instructor of Applied Jazz Piano Lessons and Jazz History course at the Syracuse University. Chen has previously taught Functional Jazz Piano courses and secondary jazz piano lessons from 2013-2018 when she was assigned as a teaching assistant at the Eastman School of Music. She also has given a diverse series of clinics, lectures and master classes around Taiwan and America.
At the piano, Dr. Chen's delicate, bright and lyrical creativity impresses the heart of any listener. Her understanding of various styles allows her to perform in many different musical settings. Her compositions have raised awareness of Taiwanese culture. And her deep-felt passion in Jazz piano performance today has attracted the attention and praise from audiences in the United States and around the world.
Dr. Chen has collaborated with many famous jazz artists such as Bill Dobbins, Dave Rivello, Rich Thompson, Charles Pillow, Gary Smulyan, Clay Jenkins, Dave Liebmann and Scott Wendholt. She also played at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, WGMC-Jazz90.1 Radio Station and many other prominent jazz venues in Taiwan.
Born in Buffalo, NY and raised in Chiayi, Taiwan, Chen graduated from college of music at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in 2013. She won 3rd place in piano concerto competition at the college of music and several awards in the National Student Music Competition. Chen was also involved in film scoring and her recent musical work “A Moment of Love” was released in August, 2013. She was accepted as an exchange student at the University of North Texas for the Fall semester of 2012, where she took a double major in classical and jazz piano performance. Under the instruction of Prof. Gustavo Romero and Mr. Sergio Pamies, Chen excelled at her time in UNT. In Spring 2013, she successfully entered the Master’s program at the Eastman School Music. Under the instruction of the legendary pianist, Harold Danko, she began her professional career as a jazz musician. In July 2018, Chen received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in jazz piano performance at Eastman School of Music with a minor in Music Theory and an Advanced Certificate in the Art of Improvisation.
As the first Taiwanese student studying in grad school for Jazz Studies in the history of Eastman, 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 arrangement on 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. In the album, she was the only arranger who was not a composition major. Also, Chen's recent 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.
Chen is devoted to a series of performance projects on women jazz pianists, Classical music improvisation and free improvisation. Invited by the Jazz Education Network (JEN) in January, 2016, she presented her research about Marian McPartland’s solo piano style in the format of a poster session. Gathering the information around the jazz field, Chen aims at helping Taiwan build a complete and, professional jazz educational system. She’s also exploring many different possibilities of sounds through musical experiments and meeting more jazz musicians from different cultural backgrounds. She believes jazz is a free art form which can include multiple cultures within its music. Through her music, Chen hopes to bring love, peace, harmony and warmness to audiences in the present and in the future.
在台就學期間副修聲樂、作曲與長笛。曾接受台灣鋼琴家葉綠娜教授、青年鋼琴家嚴俊傑、法國鋼琴家Alexandre Tharaud、新加坡楊秀桃音樂院Thomas Hecht教授、土耳其國家藝術家Gulsin Onay女士、德國國立漢堡高等音樂暨戲劇學院Marian Migdal教授、俄羅斯當代鋼琴名家列夫席茲(Konstantin Lifschitz)等大師指導。
2011年五月與系上爵士樂同好創立師大爵士樂社，並擔任創社社長。期間參與兩廳院爵士音樂營以及絲竹空爵士樂團所開辦之講座。同年修畢數位影音藝術學程，曾跟隨已故金馬獎配樂大師史擷詠教授學習配樂。近期配樂作品有手機app遊戲Mandora以及周渝民主演電影"回到愛開始的地方"。 2012年4月入選民音所作曲人才培訓計畫，成為入選者中唯一非作曲主修之特約作曲家，其改編作品《拉丁過渡》、《細雨˙落花有情---雨夜花主題幻想變奏曲》更在12月於台北藝術大學主辦的亞洲長笛年會發表，並收錄於種子音樂發行之專輯《荻生笛聲-蔡佳芬長笛雋永集 / 東西謠想新臺風》中並出版成譜，亦擔任專輯曲目英文文案編譯。5月獲取訪問學生資格赴美國德州州立大學(University of North Texas)音樂系就讀秋季班，雙主修古典鋼琴與爵士鋼琴演奏，分別師事Gustavo Romero教授以及西班牙籍爵士鋼琴家Sergio Pamies。
就讀伊斯曼音樂院碩博士班期間副修音樂理論，亦進修即興演奏藝術文憑(為全台首位取得即興演奏相關文憑的鋼琴家)，為紐約傳奇鋼琴手Harold Danko教授唯一一位閉門台灣女弟子，並獲取獎學金擔任教學助教一職，教授副修爵士鋼琴個別課以及基礎爵士鋼琴大班課程，同時跟隨爵士作/編曲家，前德國科隆WDR大樂團指揮的Bill Dobbins教授學習爵士作曲與編曲。在學期間曾接受波蘭籍爵士鋼琴/音樂理論家Dariusz Terefenko教授、知名大樂團作曲家Bob Brookmeyer之弟子Dave Rivello、前貝西伯爵大樂團鼓手Rich Thompson、古典鋼琴教育家/音樂史學家Vincent Lenti教授、義大利大鍵琴/管風琴演奏家Edoardo Bellotti教授、鋼琴/電風琴演奏家Gary Versace、吉他手 Gene Bertoncini及Larry Koonse指導。
陳氏致力於研究世界女性爵士鋼琴手的演奏風格以及歷史上的貢獻、西洋古典音樂即興演奏、自由即興以及Stride style演奏技巧。2016年1月曾受全美最具聲望的爵士教育組織Jazz Education Network之邀，於肯塔基州以海報形式發表小論文"Willow Weep for Me: A Closer Look at Marian McPartland's Solo Piano Style"，為台灣首位參與此研討會的爵士樂手，隔年亦受西維吉尼亞大學邀請至鍵盤音樂節發表。與此同時，2017-18年其原創作品《太巴塱之歌》以及其改編Mary Lou Williams之作《Lonely Moments》榮獲全球知名爵士樂雜誌DownBeat學生獎項(研究生組小編制樂團傑出原創作品與改編)，為首位連續兩年獲得此獎項的台灣樂手。現於美國紐約州雪城大學擔任爵士鋼琴暨爵士音樂史課程兼任教師。