Music department welcomes Chinese professor

The new professor in the music department, Jay Chen, is the first Chinese-American music scholar at Linfield and brings a high level of experience in conducting and playing trumpet in professional brass ensembles.
He has started teaching trumpet and directs the concert band, wind symphony and brass choir.
Chen is originally from Chengdu, China. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in orchestral instruments from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in China in 1984, and his master’s degree from Oregon State University in 1990.
After graduation, he was a music instructor at Indiana University and then moved back to Oregon. He said he preferred the comfortable and free culture in Oregon.
“I didn’t expect to study in the United States in the 1980s — that was not the trend of studying abroad yet [in China], so I didn’t prepare any language test,” Chen said. “Actually, I had been refused by the Embassy and all four consulates of [the United States of America in China] 13 times during two years.”
When applying to school in America, Chen said he sent a recording of his performance to OSU because his American friend Richard at Sichuan University was an OSU alumnus. But he didn’t realize that he also got the recognition of James Gouglass, the former OSU director of bands, and financial support from graduate school until three months later.
Chen is also the principal trumpet player for the Portland Opera and an instructor at OSU. He has performed with the Oregon and Eugene symphonies, and at the Oregon Bach, Cascade, Sunriver and Oregon Coast music festivals.
He said he enjoys playing trumpet, even though it is competitive for Chinese Americans as high-quality trumpet performers. Some of them have given up playing trumpet as careers.
Every year, he goes back to China to serve as a trumpet instructor at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music.
He said he wants to help more Chinese students with the advanced concepts of music. He said he has ideas about organizing summer exchange programs for students who want to take music courses in China and the United States.
“The difference between Chinese students and American students in playing the instrument is concept and technique,” he said. “American students have [a] strong concept of teamwork for playing as a whole concert band, while Chinese students can do [a] wonderful job on personal technique.”
Chen also said he cares about cultural communication between China and America besides music profession topics. He said he would like to talk with students who want to know about China and that it is different from historical stereotypes.

Yin Xiao
Culture editor Yin Xiao can be reached at

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