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Li-Hsin Chen Expresses Himself Through Music

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Piano Performance major in the Doctor of Musical Arts degree program | Conservatory of Music and Dance | 2016

Where are you from? 

I am from Taiwan.

Why did you choose the piano?

I love its complexity, variety and countless repertoire. Most importantly, I don’t have to carry it with me every day (laughs).

Where is UMKC taking you?

UMKC is taking me to become a knowledgeable and professional musician. After graduation, I hope to promote the next generation of musicians. I would also like to integrate the international aspect of my studies and pull people together from all over.

Why did you choose UMKC?

After finishing my study in Germany and through my personal experiences with UMKC alumni, I came to visit and had an audition here. During the visit and audition, I really enjoyed the atmosphere – UMKC makes me feel warm and they care about me. I don’t really enjoy studying at a big school. You get a better chance to know people here.

What are your lifelong goals?

I hope that I can always have a young heart, that I can keep smiling and enjoy life no matter where I am. And I hope that I can make the people around me happy. I want to see myself as a person who is responsible enough to support my family and the place I work. Also, I would like not only to pass my comprehensive experiences, the musical knowledge and skills which I have learned, to the new generations of musicians; but also to build a team for integrating all our connections to promote them.

What motto do you live by?

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”  It is not just something Steve Jobs said, but a saying we have in Chinese.


What excites you?

Music and people – studying/performing music and communication with different people really excite me. And literally, coffee (laughs).

What do you admire most at UMKC?

What I admire most at UMKC is our Conservatory faculty. To me, art is the language and expression of artists’ thoughts and introspection. Each faculty member represents different artistic characters. Studying with their outstanding characteristics and being around their knowledge, behavior, experience and aesthetic awareness makes me feel closer to the essence of beauty and the arts.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

If you want to become a professional musician, you have to be capable of thinking, talking, performing and writing professionally about music.

What got you interested in performance?

Through performing music, I cannot only freely and effectively express those emotions and feelings that I can’t express with words, but convey those music masters’ genius and my thoughts at the same time. By performing, music brings me intellectual and spiritual pleasure simultaneously.

Do you still get performance anxiety? How do you deal with it?

Yes, every time. I think every musician has performance anxiety. How do I deal with it? Well, first of all, I don’t drink coffee before my performance (laughs). Seriously, though, through mental practices like strengthening concentration or self-talk, or sometimes you just need to do it.

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