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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 is an instructor of applied jazz piano, songwriting, history of jazz, and director/co-director of jazz/funk combo and Orange Juice jazz combo at Syracuse University. She is the first Taiwanese-American who teaches jazz at the college of music in the United States. She has previously 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 a diverse series of clinics, lectures, and masterclasses around Taiwan and America. She released her first jazz album, Whispering to God, in December 2021. 

Dr. Chen has shared the stage with famous jazz artists such as Gary Smulyan, Ingrid Jensen, Dave Liebmann, Bria Skonberg, Boris Kozlov, Victor Provost, and Scott Wendholt. She also performed at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, WGMC-Jazz90.1 Radio Station, Civic Morning Musicals, Syracuse Opera, 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 two 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 theory/history, and performance practice of the stride piano. Invited by the Jazz Education Network(JEN) in January 2016 and 2020, she presented her research about Marian McPartland’s solo piano ballad playing and free improvisation style. In January 2022, she was invited again to the same conference in Dallas to give a clinic on teaching college-level songwriting classes on the subject of jazz standards.

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(NTNU) in 2013 with the Certificate of 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.

In the midst of COVID-19, Dr. Chen has participated many online collaborations and presentations on many topics. She hopes to bridge two jazz education cultures between Taiwan and America. In July 2020, she hosted two online in-depth panel discussions for Taiwanese jazz educators on teaching jazz history and jazz education in Taiwan and in the US. She was also invited by Florida Southern College and East Tennessee State University to give lectures on the history of women in jazz and basic jazz tune writing. In June 2021, invited by Taiwan Digs Jazz, she hosted a workshop on the music and spirituality of the mid-late Mary Lou Williams. As a sub-dean of the American Guild of Organists-Syracuse Chapter, she gave two workshops in organ improvisations and transcriptions. 

Thanks to the pandemic, Dr. Chen enjoys other interests besides art such as American and Taiwanese cultures, meteorology, ornithology, psychology, feminism, French, 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。出生於美國紐約州水牛城,4歲回台於嘉義市長大,並始以鋼琴為主修。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)。現於美國紐約州雪城大學(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,指導雪大融合爵士樂團以及進階爵士樂團,為首位於美國正規大學音樂系教授爵士樂的台灣人。於2021年12月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。

在台就學期間副修聲樂與長笛。曾接受台灣鋼琴家葉綠娜教授、葉孟儒教授、法國鋼琴家Alexandre Tharaud、俄羅斯當代鋼琴名家列夫席茲(Konstantin Lifschitz)等大師指導。2011年修畢數位影音藝術學分學程,曾跟隨已故金馬獎配樂大師史擷詠學習配樂。配樂作品包括手遊Mandora第一代以及林孝謙導演製作之電影《回到愛開始的地方》。 2012年4月入選師大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。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博士。

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)。先後師事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 Liebmann以及Mingus Dynasty貝斯手Boris Kozlov等大師同台演出。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。

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、爵士樂理暨音樂史教學法,以及1920年代獨奏鋼琴Stride style演奏技巧。2016及2020年初受全美最具聲望的爵士教育組織Jazz Education Network之邀,分別於肯塔基州與紐奧良發表英國女鋼琴家Marian McPartland獨奏鋼琴即興風格,為台灣首位參與此研討會的爵士樂手。 2022年再度受邀於達拉斯舉辦的JEN年會分享以爵士標準曲為例教授大學程度商業歌曲寫作課之教學法。

 

近期因為疫情的因素主辦亦參與不少線上合作與論壇。2020年七月,陳氏主辦針對專業爵士教育者與學者的兩場「台灣爵士限時批」深度線上論壇。十月受爵士鋼琴家兼學者的Jeff Benatar博士邀請線上參與Florida Southern College客座,講授女性爵士樂手發展簡史。2021年2月受古典鋼琴家陳逸陽博士邀請以遠距模式於東田納西州州立大學客座講授基礎爵士標準曲寫作。同年六月,受爵士小提琴家江忻薇之邀客座遞個爵士(Taiwan Digs Jazz)跨國線上工作坊,探討鋼琴家瑪莉露威廉絲(Mary Lou Williams)中晚年的音樂與信仰。

 

除了活躍於爵士與古典鋼琴領域,陳氏也對於管風琴與聖樂懷有高度熱忱。至今已累積二十年天主教教會司琴經驗。曾於嘉義聖若望主教座堂、台中清水天主堂、台北古亭耶穌聖心堂、輔仁大學淨心堂、美國紐約州羅徹斯特聖亞納天主堂以及雪城玫瑰天主堂擔任司琴以及領唱員。現為雪城玫瑰聖母堂擔任音樂總監暨管風琴師,亦擔任美國管風琴協會雪城分會副會長。曾於台灣與雪城當地舉辦管風琴即興演奏、彌撒禮儀伴奏與改編曲工作坊。

陳氏藝術之外的興趣相當廣泛,除了健身、烹飪、深度旅行、烘焙、法文學習,閱讀的範圍涵蓋台美文化、大氣學、社會學、人類學、鳥類學、兩棲爬蟲類研究、心理學、女性主義、文學小說、人際關係與溝通、地球科學、生物學、地理學以及幾何學。